Self-criticism as a mediator in the relationship between unhealthy perfectionism and distress

Kirsty James, Bas Verplanken, Katharine A. Rimes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Unhealthy or negative perfectionism has been identified as both a risk and maintaining factor for a range of psychological difficulties. A cross-sectional online study with a predominantly student population (n = 381) investigated cognitive processes suggested to mediate the relationship between unhealthy perfectionism and distress. Hypothesised cognitive processes were assessed using questionnaires about rumination, habitual self-critical thinking, unhelpful beliefs about emotions, self-compassion and mindfulness. Factor analysis of these questionnaires suggested two distinct underlying constructs, labelled self-criticism and present-moment awareness. Higher levels of self-criticism were associated with unhealthy perfectionism and psychological distress, and partially mediated this relationship. Present-moment awareness was associated with unhealthy perfectionism but not distress. These findings are consistent with the possibility that repetitive or habitual self-critical thinking is a process through which unhealthy perfectionism may result in greater distress. Future research could investigate whether interventions targeting self-criticism may help to reduce distress in individuals with high levels of unhealthy perfectionism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-128
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume79
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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Psychology
Mindfulness
Statistical Factor Analysis
Self-Assessment
Perfectionism
Emotions
Cross-Sectional Studies
Students
Population
Surveys and Questionnaires
Thinking

Keywords

  • Perfectionism, self-criticism, depression, anxiety, stress

Cite this

Self-criticism as a mediator in the relationship between unhealthy perfectionism and distress. / James, Kirsty; Verplanken, Bas; Rimes, Katharine A.

In: Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 79, 06.2015, p. 123-128.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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