Informant reports add incrementally to the understanding of the perfectionism–depression connection: Evidence from a prospective longitudinal study

Article · June 2013with65 Reads
DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2013.01.002
Abstract
Perfectionism is a putative risk factor for depressive symptoms. However, most research in this area uses cross-sectional designs (which fail to address temporal precedence) and mono-source designs (which are influenced by various biases). The present study overcomes these limitations by using a novel design involving both self-and informant reports of self-critical perfectionism (i.e., negative reactions to per-ceived failures, concern over others' criticism and expectations, doubts about performance abilities, and intense self-rebuke). It was hypothesized that self-and informant reports of self-critical perfection-ism would correlate moderately and that self-and informant reports of self-critical perfectionism would predict increases in depressive symptoms over time. A sample of 155 target participants and 588 infor-mants was recruited and studied using a prospective longitudinal design. All study hypotheses were supported, including evidence that self-and informant reports of self-critical perfectionism each add incrementally to the understanding of the self-critical perfectionism–depressive symptoms connection. Informant reports may provide a more complete picture of the self-critical perfectionist and her or his vulnerability to depressive symptoms.
Short Communication
Informant reports add incrementally to the understanding of the
perfectionism–depression connection: Evidence from a prospective longitudinal
study
Simon B. Sherry
a,b,
, Logan J. Nealis
a
, Matthew A. Macneil
a
, Sherry H. Stewart
a,b
, Dayna L. Sherry
c
,
Martin M. Smith
a
a
Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H4R2
b
Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, 5909 Veteran’s Memorial Lane, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H2E2
c
Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, 1276 South Park Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H2Y9
article info
Article history:
Received 16 July 2012
Received in revised form 17 December 2012
Accepted 9 January 2013
Available online 1 February 2013
Keywords:
Perfectionism
Self-criticism
Depression
Informant
Longitudinal
abstract
Perfectionism is a putative risk factor for depressive symptoms. However, most research in this area uses
cross-sectional designs (which fail to address temporal precedence) and mono-source designs (which are
influenced by various biases). The present study overcomes these limitations by using a novel design
involving both self- and informant reports of self-critical perfectionism (i.e., negative reactions to per-
ceived failures, concern over others’ criticism and expectations, doubts about performance abilities,
and intense self-rebuke). It was hypothesized that self- and informant reports of self-critical perfection-
ism would correlate moderately and that self- and informant reports of self-critical perfectionism would
predict increases in depressive symptoms over time. A sample of 155 target participants and 588 infor-
mants was recruited and studied using a prospective longitudinal design. All study hypotheses were
supported, including evidence that self- and informant reports of self-critical perfectionism each add
incrementally to the understanding of the self-critical perfectionism–depressive symptoms connection.
Informant reports may provide a more complete picture of the self-critical perfectionist and her or his
vulnerability to depressive symptoms.
Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Perfectionism is a putative risk factor for depressive symptoms.
Evidence suggests this link persists after controlling for established
predictors of depressive symptoms such as neuroticism (Mackinnon
et al., 2012). Notwithstanding, major gaps still exist in our under-
standing of the perfectionism–depressive symptom connection.
Nearly all studies in this area use cross-sectional, mono-
source designs. Cross-sectional designs fail to address temporal
precedence. Mono-source designs are potentially problematic,
especially when studying undesirable or maladaptive traits
(Klonsky, Oltmanns, & Turkheimer, 2002). Self-report question-
naires assessing people high in perfectionism may be influenced
by self-presentational biases (e.g., appearing perfect) or defensive
responses that promote or conceal certain traits. People high in
perfectionism may become so accustomed to their behavior
(e.g., unrealistic self-expectations) that they fail to accurately
recall or report it. Informant reports can overcome biases in or
limitations of self-perceptions (Vazire, 2006). For example, infor-
mant ratings of perfectionism help to bypass self-enhancing or
self-deprecating biases.
We know of only one perfectionism study involving informants
(Flett, Besser, & Hewitt, 2005). These authors used a cross-
sectional, single informant design where one friend informed on
the other; they found self- and informant reports of perfectionism
were correlated with each other and with depressive symptoms.
Although this study improved on mono-source designs, multiple
informants produce a more reliable, encompassing assessment of
target participants’ traits (Vazire, 2006). Multiple informants par-
ticipate in various roles and situations with target participants;
for example, romantic partners observe different behaviors than
coworkers.
Our study overcomes limitations of prior research. Specifically,
we collected self-reports of perfectionism as well as informant
reports of perfectionism from multiple sources and tested whether
these reports predicted longitudinal increases in depressive
symptoms.
0191-8869/$ - see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.01.002
Corresponding author at: Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University,
1355 Oxford Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H4R2. Tel.: +1 902 494 8070;
fax: +1 902 494 6585.
E-mail address: simon.sherry@dal.ca (S.B. Sherry).
Personality and Individual Differences 54 (2013) 957–960
Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect
Personality and Individual Differences
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/paid
1.1. Self-critical perfectionism and depressive symptoms
Three prominent theoretical models in perfectionism research
include psychodynamic models (Blatt, 1995), cognitive-behavioral
models (Frost, Marten, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1990), and interper-
sonal models (Hewitt & Flett, 1991). Self-critical perfectionism
(negative reactions to perceived failures, concern over others’ crit-
icism and expectations, doubts about performance abilities, and
intense self-rebuke) represents a theoretically based, empirical
synthesis of these models (Dunkley, Zuroff, & Blankstein, 2003).
Self-critical perfectionism is conceptualized as a risk factor that
comes before and contributes to increases in depressive symptoms.
Consistent with this conceptualization, clinical observations (Blatt,
1995) and empirical findings (Dunkley et al., 2003; McGrath et al.,
2012) suggest self-critical perfectionism encapsulates core attri-
butes (e.g., harsh self-criticism) and central preoccupations (e.g.,
evaluative fears) of people at risk for depressive symptoms.
Building upon Flett et al. (2005), we hypothesized Wave 1 self-
and informant reports of self-critical perfectionism would correlate
moderately. We also hypothesized Wave 1 informant reports of
self-critical perfectionism would predict Wave 2 depressive symp-
toms after controlling for Wave 1 self-reports of self-critical perfec-
tionism and Wave 1 depressive symptoms. Based on McGrath et al.
(2012), we hypothesized Wave 1 self-reports of self-critical perfec-
tionism would predict Wave 2 depressive symptoms after control-
ling for Wave 1 informant reports of self-critical perfectionism and
Wave 1 depressive symptoms. These hypotheses draw on research
suggesting each source (self- and informant reports) has unique
information to convey that is important in predicting depressive
symptoms (Vazire, 2006).
2. Method
2.1. Participants
A sample of 155 undergraduates (119 women) was recruited
from Dalhousie University. Participants averaged 20.65 years of
age (SD = 3.03) and were mostly (70.3%) of European descent. We
call these 155 participants targets. A sample of 588 participants
(364 women) was recruited from friends, family, etc. of targets.
We call these 588 participants informants; 39.3% of informants
were friends, 16.3% were mothers, 9.7% were fathers, and 34.7%
were involved in other types of relationships with targets (e.g., girl-
friend). Informants averaged 30.20 years of age (SD = 14.82), and
were mostly (73.3%) of European descent. Informants indicated
they had face-to-face contact with targets an average of 3.70 days
per week (SD = 2.57) and had some other form of contact with tar-
gets (e.g., phone) an average of 5.13 days per week (SD = 2.05).
Most informants (50.9%) reported they knew targets ‘‘extremely
well’’ (M = 3.39, SD = 0.72) on a 5-point scale from 1 (not at all)to
5(extremely well). Informants indicated the average length of their
relationship with targets was 10.46 years (SD = 8.97).
2.2. Measures
2.2.1. Self-critical perfectionism
Self-critical perfectionism was measured using the 9-item self-
criticism subscale (SC; e.g., ‘‘I often find I don’t live up to my
ideals’’) of the Depressive Experience Questionnaire (DEQ; Bagby,
Parker, Joffe, & Buis, 1994), the 5-item short form of the concern
over mistakes subscale (COM; e.g., ‘‘If I fail at school, I am a failure
as a person’’) of Frost’s Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (FMPS;
Frost et al., 1990), the 4-item doubts about actions subscale (DAA;
e.g., ‘‘I have doubts about the things I do’’) of the FMPS, and the
5-item short form of the socially prescribed perfectionism subscale
(SPP; e.g., ‘‘My family expects me to be perfect’’) of Hewitt and
Flett’s Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (HFMPS; Hewitt & Flett,
1991). Studies support the reliability and validity of these sub-
scales (McGrath et al., 2012).
Informant reports of self-critical perfectionism were assessed
with modified versions of the DEQ-SC, FMPS-COM, FMPS-DAA,
and HFMPS-SPP. Self-report items (e.g., ‘‘People expect more from
me than I am capable of giving’’) were modified into informant re-
port items (e.g., ‘‘They believe that people expect more from them
than they are capable of giving’’). The number of items (e.g., five
items for the socially prescribed perfectionism subscale) and the
item response options (e.g., 1 = strongly disagree;7=strongly agree)
were unmodified for informant measures. These four informant
measures were created for the present study. Research on their
reliability and validity is therefore unavailable.
2.2.2. Depressive symptoms
Depressive symptoms were measured using the 7-item depres-
sion subscale (e.g., ‘‘I felt down-hearted’’) of the Depression Anxiety
Stress Scale (DASS-D; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995). Evidence sup-
ports the reliability and validity of this subscale, including research
suggesting the DASS-D specifically measures depressive symptoms
apart from anxiety symptoms and stress (Lovibond & Lovibond,
1995).
2.3. Procedure
Dalhousie University’s Ethics Board approved this study. Our
study involved two waves separated by 28 days. Targets completed
measures of self-critical perfectionism at Wave 1 and measures of
depressive symptoms at Wave 1 and 2. Informants completed
measures of self-critical perfectionism at Wave 1. After Wave 2,
targets received $30 and a 3.0% bonus credit toward a psychology
course or $45; informants were entered in 1 of 20 draws for $50.
Targets provided a list of five informants before starting our study.
Informants met three inclusion criteria: knowing the target for at
least three months, interacting with the target at least twice a
week, and knowing the target reasonably well. Informants were
contacted via email and invited to complete an internet-based
questionnaire. Informants were emailed three times to maximize
participation. Not all informants who were invited to participate
completed our study, meaning the number of informants per target
varied somewhat; 75.9% (588 of 775) of informants invited to par-
ticipate completed our study. For each target, there was an average
of 3.89 informants (SD = 1.36). Overall, 155 (100%) targets finished
Wave 1 and 152 targets (98.1%) finished Wave 2. Not all targets
completed Wave 2 exactly when requested (i.e., 28 days after
Wave 1). On average, Wave 2 occurred 30.11 (SD = 1.88) days after
Wave 1.
2.4. Data analysis
Missing data were minimal for targets and informants (<2.5%).
We imputed missing data with an expectation maximization algo-
rithm. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were also used to
test hypotheses.
3. Results
3.1. Descriptive statistics
Means for self-report measures were within one standard devi-
ation of means from past studies of undergraduates (McGrath
et al., 2012), indicating consistency with past studies using similar
samples. Alpha reliabilities for self- and informant report measures
958 S.B. Sherry et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 54 (2013) 957–960
were acceptable (P.86; see Table 1); alpha reliabilities for self-
report measures resembled prior work (McGrath et al., 2012).
Comparison means and alphas for informant report measures are
not available as our study represents the first time these informant
report measures have been used.
3.2. Correlations
Indicators of self-critical perfectionism were standardized and
summed before analyses. We aggregated across informant reports
since aggregation of reports from multiple informants leads to
more reliable assessments of personality (Vazire, 2006). For exam-
ple, if informant reports from a roommate, friend, mother, and girl-
friend were available for a target participant, then we combined all
four reports into one aggregated informant report. This resulted in
151 aggregated informant reports, meaning 97.4% of our 155 tar-
gets provided us with at least one informant.
As hypothesized, Wave 1 self- and informant reports of
self-critical perfectionism were correlated (see Table 1). Wave 1
self- and informant reports of self-critical perfectionism were also
correlated with Wave 1 and 2 depressive symptoms.
3.3. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses
As Panel 1 of Table 2 shows, a hierarchical multiple regression
analysis was conducted with Wave 2 depressive symptoms as
the outcome. Wave 1 depressive symptoms were entered as a pre-
dictor in Step 1, followed by Wave 1 self-critical perfectionism
(self-report) in Step 2, and Wave 1 self-critical perfectionism
(informant report) in Step 3. As hypothesized, Wave 1 informant
reports of self-critical perfectionism significantly predicted incre-
mental variance in Wave 2 depressive symptoms after controlling
for Wave 1 self-reports of self-critical perfectionism and Wave 1
depressive symptoms.
As Panel 2 of Table 2 illustrates, another hierarchical multiple
regression analysis was conducted with Wave 2 depressive symp-
toms as the outcome. Wave 1 depressive symptoms were entered
as a predictor in Step 1, followed by Wave 1 self-critical perfection-
ism (informant report) in Step 2, and Wave 1 self-critical perfec-
tionism (self-report) in Step 3. Consistent with hypotheses, Wave
1 self-reports of self-critical perfectionism significantly predicted
incremental variance in Wave 2 depressive symptoms even after
controlling for Wave 1 informant reports of self-critical perfection-
ism and Wave 1 depressive symptoms.
4. Discussion
Though self-perceptions can be accurate, a person’s position as
expert on his or her traits can be compromised by biases (e.g., self-
serving biases). Using self-report questionnaires, Dunkley et al.
(2003) and McGrath et al. (2012) found that people high in self-
critical perfectionism are at risk for depressive symptoms. Our
study complements and extends this research by showing that
(a) self- and informant reports of self-critical perfectionism were
moderately correlated and (b) self- and informant reports of self-
critical perfectionism each add incrementally to the understanding
of the perfectionism-depressive symptoms connection.
Our study supported the convergent validity of the self-critical
perfectionism construct by demonstrating self- and informant
reports correlated moderately (r = .35). This finding is congruent
with Flett et al. (2005), who found self- and informant reports
of perfectionism correlated moderately in a single informant
study where one friend informed on the other. This finding also
intersects with a wider literature suggesting self- and informant
Table 1
Means, standard deviations, alpha reliabilities, and correlations.
Variable MSD
a
12 3 4
1. Self-critical perfectionism
(Wave 1; self-report) .90 .35
⁄⁄⁄
.53
⁄⁄⁄
.42
⁄⁄⁄
2. Self-critical perfectionism
(Wave 1; informant report) .95 .20
.32
⁄⁄⁄
3. Depressive symptoms
(Wave 1; self-report) 4.01 3.98 .86 .45
⁄⁄⁄
4. Depressive symptoms
(Wave 2; self-report) 3.87 4.07 .88
Note: Self- and informant report subscales comprising self-critical perfectionism were standardized and summed. Self-critical perfectionism has a mean of 0 and standard
deviation of 1.
p < .05,
⁄⁄
p < .01,
⁄⁄⁄
p < .001.
Table 2
Hierarchical multiple regression analyses predicting wave 2 depressive symptoms.
Panel 1 Panel 2
D
R
2
D
F b
D
R
2
D
F b
Step 1 .21 38.83
⁄⁄⁄
Step 1 .21 38.83
⁄⁄⁄
Depressive symptoms .46
⁄⁄⁄
Depressive symptoms .46
⁄⁄⁄
(Wave 1; self-report) (Wave 1; self-report)
Step 2 .05 9.34
⁄⁄
Step 2 .06 11.12
⁄⁄⁄
Self-critical perfectionism .26
⁄⁄
Self-critical perfectionism .24
⁄⁄⁄
(Wave 1; self-report) (Wave 1; informant report)
Step 3 .03 6.66
Step 3 .02 4.95
Self-critical perfectionism .19
Self-critical perfectionism .19
(Wave 1; informant report) (Wave 1; self-report)
Note: N = 151.
p < .05,
⁄⁄
p < .01,
⁄⁄⁄
p < .001.
S.B. Sherry et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 54 (2013) 957–960
959
reports of disordered personality traits correlate moderately
(Klonsky et al., 2002).
Self-critical perfectionism represents a constellation of traits
with salient self-evaluative features (e.g., intense self-reproach)
and social-cognitive features (e.g., perceiving that others demand
perfection of oneself). These traits may be conceptualized as inter-
nal mental representations of the self and other people (Blatt,
1995). So, what is it informants see when they think they see a per-
fectionist? Informants may be directly observing (or indirectly
inferring) targets’ self-critical perfectionism through verbally ex-
pressed self-criticism, repetitive checking behaviors, or overt inter-
personal behaviors with perfectionistic themes (e.g., complaints
regarding pressures from others).
Results also indicated informant reports of self-critical perfec-
tionism provide information that is non-redundant with self-
reports of self-critical perfectionism. Wave 1 informant reports of
self-critical perfectionism predicted Wave 2 depressive symptoms
after controlling for Wave 1 self-reports of self-critical perfection-
ism and Wave 1 depressive symptoms, thereby supporting our
hypothesis. These analyses represent a strict test of the self-critical
perfectionism–depressive symptoms connection and support our
assertion self-critical perfectionism may be a premorbid personal-
ity structure that places people at risk for depressive symptoms
(McGrath et al., 2012). Researchers and clinicians should be aware
informant reports of self-critical perfectionism can contribute
incrementally to the understanding of participants and patients.
Tests of self-critical perfectionism as a risk factor for depressive
symptoms are scarce. Consistent with Dunkley et al. (2003), McG-
rath et al. (2012), and our hypotheses, Wave 1 self-reports of self-
critical perfectionism predicted Wave 2 depressive symptoms after
taking into account Wave 1 informant reports of self-critical per-
fectionism and Wave 1 depressive symptoms. Our research also
converges with Dunkley et al. (2003) and McGrath et al. (2012)
to suggest aggregating multiple, lower-order perfectionism facets
into a single, higher-order perfectionism domain (i.e., self-critical
perfectionism) represents one effective way to operationalize the
perfectionism construct.
Our study has limitations. Our sample was primarily female and
Caucasian. It is unclear whether our results generalize to other
samples. Informants were not selected randomly from targets’ so-
cial networks. Targets may have selected informants who viewed
them positively. We also did not collect informant reports of
depressive symptoms, meaning our outcome variable is more
susceptible to self-report biases. Moreover, informants reported
on targets’ internal traits; some of these traits could not be directly
observed (e.g., self-criticism). Informants may be better judges of
external traits (e.g., behaviors) compared to internal traits (e.g.,
thoughts). Informants are also not without potential biases (e.g.,
parents might have ego-protective biases in reporting on children)
or informants may simply lack information about targets.
Self-reports are subject to biases (e.g., defensive responses)
which may compromise the accuracy of information obtained, espe-
cially for participants with undesirable or maladaptive traits such
as self-critical perfectionism (Klonsky et al., 2002). In our study,
self- and informant reports of self-critical perfectionism converged
moderately, and both approaches to assessing self-critical perfec-
tionism predicted longitudinal increases in depressive symptoms.
Acknowledgments
This research was funded by Grants from the Capital Health Re-
search Fund and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
of Canada. Funding sources were not involved in writing this
manuscript.
References
Bagby, R., Parker, J., Joffe, R., & Buis, T. (1994). Reconstruction and validation of the
depressive experiences questionnaire. Assessment, 1, 59–68.
Blatt, S. (1995). The destructiveness of perfectionism. American Psychologist, 50,
1003–1020.
Dunkley, D., Zuroff, D., & Blankstein, K. (2003). Self-critical perfectionism and daily
affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 234–252.
Flett, G., Besser, A., & Hewitt, P. (2005). Perfectionism, ego defense styles, and
depression: A comparison of self-reports versus informant ratings. Journal of
Personality, 73, 1355–1396.
Frost, R., Marten, P., Lahart, C., & Rosenblate, R. (1990). The dimensions of
perfectionism. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 14, 449–468.
Hewitt, P., & Flett, G. (1991). Perfectionism in the self and social contexts. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 456–470.
Klonsky, E., Oltmanns, T., & Turkheimer, E. (2002). Informant-reports of personality
disorder. Clinical Psychology, 9, 300–311.
Lovibond, P., & Lovibond, S. (1995). The structure of negative emotional states.
Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33, 335–343.
Mackinnon, S., Sherry, S., Antony, M., Stewart, S., Sherry, D., & Hartling, N. (2012).
Caught in a bad romance. Perfectionism, conflict and depression in romantic
relationships. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 215–225.
McGrath, D., Sherry, S., Stewart, S., Mushquash, A., Allen, S., Nealis, L., et al. (2012).
Reciprocal relations between self-critical perfectionism and depressive
symptoms. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 44, 169–181.
Vazire, S. (2006). Informant reports: A cheap, fast, and easy method for personality
assessment. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 472–481.
960 S.B. Sherry et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 54 (2013) 957–960
    • Similarly, most research on perfectionism and narcissism relies on self-reports (cf.Nealis et al., 2016). This is problematic as perfectionism and narcissism both involve self-presentational biases such as defensiveness (Sherry et al., 2013). Future research could advance the perfectionism-narcissism literature by moving beyond reliance on cross-sectional designs and augmenting self-reports with informant reports.
    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2018 · Assessment
    • According to a recent meta-analysis, depending on individual circumstances, all aspects of perfectionism may actually confer vulnerability to depression (Smith et al., 2016). Consistent with previous research (Enns et al., 2002;Sherry et al., 2013;Sherry, Gautreau, Mushquash, Sherry, & Allen, 2014), teachers experiencing negative reactions to imperfection reported higher levels of depressive symptoms. As for the observed mediating effects of psychological detachment from work, our findings support prior investigations that have shown various dysfunctional behaviors and cognitions to explain the association between maladaptive perfectionism and depression (Flett, Coulter, Hewitt, & Nepon, 2011;Harris et al., 2008).
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the association of perfectionism with depressive symptoms and tested whether psychological detachment from work would both mediate and moderate the association. The participants were 76 primary school teachers (87% female) who responded to measures of perfectionism (Multidimensional Inventory on Perfectionism in Sports adapted for teachers), psychological detachment from work (The Recovery Experience Questionnaire), and depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory-II). Perfectionism comprised both adaptive and maladaptive dimensions. Adaptive perfectionism referred to striving for perfection, whereas maladaptive perfectionism involved negative reactions to imperfection and perceived pressure to be perfect. According to our results, negative reactions to imperfection were associated with higher depressive symptoms, and lower level of psychological detachment from work played a minor mediating role in the association. There was, however, no association between negative reactions to imperfection and higher depressive symptoms when detachment from work was high. Our findings suggest that striving for perfection and perceived pressure to be perfect might not contribute to depressive symptoms in teaching. Instead, teachers experiencing negative reactions to imperfection and low psychological detachment from work could be at risk for developing depressive symptoms. Finding ways to psychologically detach from work may benefit teachers characterized by negative reactions to imperfection.
    Article · Oct 2017
    • Participants responded to the FMPS-COM and FMPS-DAA using a 5-point scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Research supports the reliability and validity of these subscales in undergraduates (Sherry et al., 2013). Alpha's showed good reliabilities in our study (.82–.91; see Supplementary Table 1).
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The perfectionism model of binge eating (PMOBE) posits perfectionistic concerns are a vulnerability factor for binge eating. And evidence indicates perfectionistic concerns and binge eating correlate positively. Yet the direction of this relationship is unclear. In particular, it is unclear if perfectionistic concerns represent an antecedent of binge eating (a vulnerability effect with perfectionistic concerns predicting increases in binge eating), a consequence of binge eating (a complication effect with binge eating predicting increases in perfectionistic concerns), or both (reciprocal relations with perfectionistic concerns predicting increases in binge eating and vice versa). To address these questions, we studied 200 undergraduate women using a 4-week, 4-wave cross-lagged design. Consistent with the PMOBE, perfectionistic concerns predicted increased binge eating (vulnerability effect). Conversely, binge eating did not predict increased perfectionistic concerns (complication effect). Findings support the long-held theory that perfectionistic concerns are part of the premorbid personality of women vulnerable to binge eating.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2017
    • Additionally, all included studies used mono-source designs. Mono-source designs are problematic when studying personality traits such as perfectionism that can involve self-presentational biases (Sherry, Nealis, Macneil, Stewart, Sherry, & Smith, 2013). Thus, future research could advance this literature by moving beyond reliance on cross-sectional designs and augmenting self-reports with informant reports.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Theoretical accounts suggest perfectionists are prone to suicide ideation, and over 25 years of research has tested these accounts. First, we review research demonstrating perfectionists think, relate, perceive, and behave in ways that engender suicide ideation, and use Ernest Hemmingway’s suicide as a case example. Next, we scrutinize evidence suggesting that, although the incremental validity of socially prescribed perfectionism (perceiving others as demanding perfection) beyond hopelessness is clear, the explanatory power of self-oriented perfectionism (demanding perfection of the self), and other-oriented perfectionism (demanding perfection from others) beyond hopelessness is unclear. Subsequently, we conducted a meta-analysis testing the extent to which self-oriented, other-oriented, and socially prescribed perfectionism predict suicide ideation beyond hopelessness. Findings derived from 15 studies, with 20 samples involving 2,089 participants, revealed that, after controlling for hopelessness, self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism, but not other-oriented perfectionism, displayed small positive associations with suicide ideation. Findings dovetail with longstanding theoretical accounts suggesting both self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism play an important role in suicide ideation. Findings also indicate self-oriented perfectionism’s and socially prescribed perfectionism’s relationships with suicide ideation are not merely statistical artefacts stemming from shared variance with hopelessness. Taken together, findings underscore the importance of developing ways of intervening when suicidal people feel they must meet the perfectionistic expectations of themselves and others.
    Full-text · Chapter · Jun 2017 · Assessment
    • Consequently, the 15-item short form that Cox, Enns, and Clara published in 2002—assessing each dimension with five items—has been used in many studies in research on personality and individual differences, clinical and counseling psychology, and sport and exercise psychology where the full-length MPS was considered too long (e.g., Cox et al., 2009; A. Hill et al., 2014; Mackinnon et al., 2013; Powers, Koestner, Zuroff, Milyavskaya, & Gorin, 2011; Stoeber & Hotham, 2013). Researchers, however, should note that there is another 15-item MPS short form, first employed by Hewitt, Habke, Lee-Baggley, Sherry, and Flett (2008), that is used in an increasing number of studies (e.g., Flett, Baricza, Gupta, Hewitt, & Endler, 2011; Graham et al., 2010; Nealis, Sherry, Sherry, Stewart, & Macneil, 2015; Sherry et al., 2013; M. M. Smith, Saklofske, & Yan, 2015). Clearly, there is a need for an MPS short form when even the scale creators themselves have resorted to using a 15-item short form at times (e.g., Flett et al., 2011; Hewitt et al., 2008).
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hewitt and Flett’s 45-item Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS; Hewitt & Flett, 1991, 2004) is a widely-used instrument to assess self-oriented, other-oriented, and socially prescribed perfectionism. With 45 items, it is not overly lengthy, but there are situations where a short form is useful. Analyzing data from 4 samples, this article compares 2 frequently used 15-item short forms of the MPS—Cox et al.’s (2002) and Hewitt et al.’s (2008)—by examining to what degree their scores replicate the original version’s correlations with various personality characteristics (e.g., traits, social goals, personal/interpersonal orientations). Regarding self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism, both short forms performed well. Regarding other-oriented perfectionism, however, Cox et al.’s short form (exclusively comprised of negatively worded items) performed less well than Hewitt et al.’s (which contains no negatively worded items). It is recommended that researchers use Hewitt et al.’s short form to assess other-oriented perfectionism rather than Cox et al.’s.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2016
    • Each of these three studies aggregated multiple perfectionism facets (e.g., socially prescribed perfectionism) into self-critical perfectionism, suggesting this integrative approach represents one reliable and valid way to operationalize perfectionism. Our study also extends past research, which used undergraduate samples (McGrath et al., 2012; Sherry et al., 2013), by demonstrating self-critical perfectionism confers vulnerability to depressive symptoms in middle-aged, community-dwelling women. Our study is the first that we know of to demonstrate selfcritical perfectionism (a lower-order, narrow-band personality trait) predicts increases in depressive symptoms while controlling for neuroticism (a higher-order, broad-band personality trait).
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Self-critical perfectionism (i.e., negative reactions to perceived failures, concern over others’ criticism and expectations, doubts about abilities, and intense self-rebuke) represents a putative vulnerability factor for depressive symptoms. However, few studies have examined self-critical perfectionism and depressive symptoms longitudinally, and no longitudinal study has tested whether the relationship between self-critical perfectionism and depressive symptoms holds after controlling for neuroticism. Past research on self-critical perfectionism and depressive symptoms has used either undergraduate or psychiatric samples, suggesting a need to broaden this relatively narrow evidence base. The present study advances previous research by testing the relationship between self-critical perfectionism and depressive symptoms, while controlling for neuroticism, in a longitudinal study of 218 middle-aged, community-dwelling women. Wave 1 self-critical perfectionism significantly predicted increases in Wave 2 depressive symptoms after controlling for Wave 1 neuroticism and Wave 1 depressive symptoms, thereby supporting study hypotheses. These data suggest self-critical perfectionism (a lower-order, narrow-band personality trait) may be a unique and a specific lower-order personality trait that is neither captured by nor redundant with neuroticism (a higher-order, broad-band personality trait). Self-critical perfectionism may represent part of the premorbid personality of individuals vulnerable to depressive symptoms.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014
Show more
Project
A male youth health initiative to end a cycle of violence for males in the challenging context of childhood sexual violence victimization, to shine a light on this neglected area in research, to se…" [more]
Project
We aimed to provide a more detailed account of links between CSA and alcohol problems in youth in the child welfare system by exploring potential emotion-focused mechanisms. In light of different r…" [more]
Project
This cluster randomised trial will test the efficacy of personality-targeted interventions in reducing 5-year risk for substance use disorder in at-risk adolescents. The secondary goal is to test …" [more]
Article
June 2012 · British Journal of Educational Psychology · Impact Factor: 2.00
    Student's temperament plays a significant role in teacher's perception of the student's learning style, educational competence (EC), and teachability. Hence, temperament contributes to student's academic achievement and teacher's subjective ratings of school grades. However, little is known about the effect of gender and teacher's age on this association. We examined the effect of teacher's... [Show full abstract]
    Article
    September 2012 · International Journal of Public Health · Impact Factor: 2.70
      Objectives: We examined whether childhood disruptive behavior (aggressiveness, hyperactivity and social adjustment), predicts adulthood socioeconomic position (SEP), i.e., educational level, occupational status and income and social mobility. Methods: Social mobility was defined by comparing the participants' adulthood socioeconomic position with that of their parents ("intergenerational... [Show full abstract]
      Article
      November 2012 · Journal of psychosomatic research · Impact Factor: 2.74
        Personality is a potential factor determining individual differences in body-weight change. The current study examines associations between personality traits and change in body-mass index (BMI) over six years. The participants were 762 women and 648 men aged 24-39years at the base-line. Personality was assessed with the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). For calculating BMI, height... [Show full abstract]
        Data
        February 2013
          Discover more