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Series: Physical Education and Sport Vol. 16, No 1, 2018, pp. 57 - 71
PERSONALITY TRAITS AS PREDICTORS OF PERFECTIONISM
Ţeljka Bojanić, Dušana Šakan, Jasmina Nedeljković
Faculty of Legal and Business Studies dr Lazar Vrkatić, Union University, Novi Sad,
Abstract. The aim of this study was to explore the role of personality traits as
predictors of perfectionism and to determine the existence of gender differences in the
ways perfectionism is manifested. The study was conducted on 302 respondents aged
18 to 57. The Perfectionism Inventory scale (PI) used to measure perfectionism
assesses lower-order perfectionism facets: Concern Over Mistakes, High Standards for
Others, Need for Approval, Organization, Perceived Parental Pressure, Planfulness,
Rumination, and Striving for Excellence; and three higher-order facets: Conscientious
Perfectionism, Self-Evaluative Perfectionism and Perfectionism Inventory Composite.
The Big Five Inventory (BFI), based on the Big Five model of personality, was used for
the evaluation of personality traits: Extraversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness,
Agreeableness and Openness to experience. In determining gender differences, the t-
test was used. Men scored higher than women on Organization, Planfulness, and
Conscientious Perfectionism, whereas women scored higher than men on Perceived
Parental Pressure. Three multiple regression analyses were conducted, one for each of
the tested criterion variables, to test the significance of predictors of perfectionism.
Predictor variables were the five dimensions of personality traits, and the criterion
variables were the dimensions of higher-order perfectionism. All three tested models
have statistical significance, and the sum of the predictors, made up of basic
personality traits, accounts for one-fifth to one-third of the variance in the criterion
measures of perfectionism. Almost all personality traits are shown to be significant
predictors of perfectionism, with the exception of Conscientiousness, which is not a
predictor of Self-Evaluative Perfectionism. Based on the results, it can be concluded
that perfectionists generally keep to themselves, are less tolerant towards others, often
worry, are sensitive to their own actions as well as those of others, but also open to
new experiences. The obtained results contribute to a better understanding of the
social adaptation and functioning of young adults, including young athletes.
Key words: mechanical characteristics, vertical jump, kinematic, accelerometer.
Received May 15, 2018 / Accepted June 21, 2018
Corresponding author: Željka Bojanić
Faculty of Legal and Business Studies dr Lazar Vrkatić, Union University, Oslobođenja Blvd. 76,
21000 Novi Sad, Serbia
Phone: +381 21 47 27 884 • E-mail: email@example.com
58 Ž. BOJANIĆ, D. ŠAKAN, J. NEDELJKOVIĆ
Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by a person's striving for flawlessness
and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and
concerns regarding others' evaluations (Stoeber & Childs, 2010; Frost, Marten, Lahart, &
Rosenblate, 1990). Perfectionists are often described as pessimistic individuals prone to
exaggeration and excessive self-criticism (Slaney, Rice, & Ashby, 2002).
The presence of perfectionism in a single domain of life does not necessarily entail the
existence of perfectionism in other domains, with the exception of extreme perfectionists
who strive to be perfect in every aspect of their life (Stoeber & Stoeber, 2009). Rhéaume et
al. (Rhéaume, Freeston, & Ladouceur, 1994), created a scale for measuring perfectionism in
various aspects of life: work, bodily hygiene, studies, physical appearance, social
relationships, presentation of documents, spelling, dress, way of speaking, romantic
relationships, eating habits, health, domestic chores (cleanliness), time management
(punctuality), correspondence/mail, leisure activities, oral presentations, sports,
investments/purchases, orderliness, children’s education, repairs (home handyman, DIY),
etc. People are most commonly perfectionism-oriented towards work (Stoeber & Stoeber,
2009; Slaney & Ashby, 1996), then towards studies, bodily hygiene, spelling, and
presentation of documents (Stoeber & Stoeber, 2009). Moreover, there is a greater
correlation between social relationships and perfectionism in a student sample than in a
random internet sample. However, the random internet sample scored higher on time
management than the student population (Stoeber & Stoeber, 2009), which indicates that
people belonging to different social groups value different domains of life differently, which
is why perfectionistic tendencies are more present in some domains rather than others.
Perfectionism has been studied for many decades, and authors most frequently dealt with
two major problems – whether perfectionism is a maladaptive or an adaptive trait, and whether
it should be studied as a one-dimensional construct or as a complex multidimensional
psychological trait. Some researchers view perfectionism as a maladaptive trait, stating that
excessive self-criticism, a trait common in perfectionists, leads to depressive states, or even
suicidal ideation (Blatt, 1995). Perfectionism has been associated with a number of
psychological disorders, hence its traits are often measured via items and scales primarily
constructed to measure various psychological disorders. For instance, Burns (1980), author of
the Perfectionism scale, relied on the Dysfunctional Attitudes scale as a primary measure of
perfectionism, in order to assess a set of self-deprecating attitudes usually present in individuals
that suffer from clinical depression and anxiety. Alongside Burns, a similar approach to
measuring perfectionism was adopted by Frost et al. (1990) who focused on items primarily
related to eating disorders (Garner, Olmstead, & Polivy, 1983) and the obsessive-compulsive
disorder (Hodgson & Rachman, 1977). Even though the instruments mentioned above were
based on the study of perfectionism as a negative trait, the results of the conducted studies,
which included those scales, point to the different nature of this construct. Results of those
studies show that perfectionism has positive correlations with different indicators of good
mental health (Frost, Heimberg, Holt, Mattia, & Neubauer, 1993; Rice, Ashby, & Slaney,
1998). This brought about a change in the initial attitude towards perfectionism, which was
previously considered to be a maladaptive trait. Accepting the view of perfectionism as an
adaptive trait, some authors began to view the presence of high personal standards as an
indicator of good mental health which indubitably contributes to personal development (e.g.
Personality Traits as Predictors of Perfectionism 59
Adler, 1956). However, some psychoanalysts adamantly opposed this view (e.g. Horney,
Hamachek (1978) united the two opposing views pointing out the dual nature of
perfectionism, which is dependent on the way it is manifested. Hamachek (1978) argued
that perfectionism is a complex phenomenon that can be manifested as normal (adaptive)
perfectionism and as neurotic (maladaptive) perfectionism. This gave birth to the idea of
the complexity and multidimensionality of perfectionism that was accepted by many
authors afterwards. Frost et al. (1990) view perfectionism as a multidimensional trait, and
they determined six basic factors of perfectionism: Doubts about Actions, Concern over
Mistakes, High Personal Standards, High Parental Expectations, Parental Criticism, and
In the studies that followed, researchers adopted the idea that perfectionism consists of
two main factors – positive and negative. “Positive” (adaptive) perfectionists tend to set
realistic standards for themselves, and they derive pleasure from their hard work, whereas
“negative” (maladaptive) perfectionists set unattainable goals and they hold the belief that
they could have performed the task better (Hamachek, 1978). These two aspects are not at
the opposing ends of a continuum, rather they represent two different and independent
factors (Stumpf & Parker, 2000). Hewitt & Flett (1991) presented three dimensions of
perfectionism, believing that all three dimensions can be both adaptive as well as
maladaptive: Self-Oriented Perfectionism, Other-Oriented Perfectionism, and Socially
Prescribed Perfectionism. Self-oriented perfectionists set high standards according to
which they evaluate their own work. On the other hand, other-oriented perfectionists set
unrealistic standards for other people that are important to them. Finally, socially
prescribed perfectionists believe that other people have unrealistic expectations of them.
According to Hill et al. (2004), perfectionism can be observed through eight dimensions:
Concern Over Mistakes (tendency to experience anxiety or stress after making a mistake),
High Standards for Others (tendency to demand that others meet your perfectionist
expectations), Need for Approval (tendency to seek approval from others and sensitivity to
criticism), Organization (tendency towards order and tidiness), Perceived Parental
Pressure (tendency to feel the need to perform a task perfectly in order to gain the
parents’ trust), Planfulness (tendency to plan and contemplate on decisions ahead of
time), Rumination (tendency to obsessively think about mistakes made in the past, and
even more about the causes and possible consequences) and Striving for Excellence
(tendency to achieve perfect results and to set high standards).
Perfectionism in sport
In the sport domain, perfectionism is usually not considered a maladaptive phenomenon,
but a personality trait that leads to enhancing sport performance (Stoll, Lau, & Stoeber, 2008).
In addition to better understanding the role of perfectionism in sports, Stoeber (2014)
considered perfectionism in sport as a “double-edged sword” that may have benefits, but can
also lead to some risks. A leading author in the field (Stoeber, 2014) emphasizes a few
problems that should be addressed in future research: are there differences between
perfectionism in sport and perfectionism in exercise, how perfectionism affects athletes’ both
individual objective performance and whole athletic team performance, and how perfectionism
affects athlete-coach relationships.
60 Ž. BOJANIĆ, D. ŠAKAN, J. NEDELJKOVIĆ
Generally, higher levels of perfectionism can be associated with both higher levels of
stress and its negative consequences (Childs & Stoeber, 2012 according to Crocker,
Gaudreau, Mosewich, & Kljajic, 2014), which is an important issue hence stressful
situations are common in sport. But, in the domain of sport striving for perfection was
found not to be in relation to anxiety (Stoeber, Otto, Pescheck, Becker, & Stoll, 2007;
Hall, Kerr, & Matthews, 1998) which indicated that striving for perfection in sports is not
necessarily a maladaptive trait. Results of some other studies, in which perfectionism has
shown to have positive relations with some positive psychological constructs, also
manifest its adaptive nature. “Healthy” perfectionists show lower levels of burnout
(Gotwals, 2011), and development of healthy perfectionist orientations in youth athletes is
correlated with exposure to heightened authoritative parenting (Sapieja & Holt, 2011).
Also, perfectionism and goal orientations are correlated (task orientation is positively
correlated with an adaptive profile of perfectionism, but ego orientation is positively
associated with a maladaptive profile of perfectionism) (Dunn, Dunn, & Syrotuik, 2002),
as well as perfectionism and self-esteem (Gotwals, Dunn, & Wayment, 2003). Striving for
perfection may be a protective factor to vulnerability to doping (Madigan, Stoeber, &
Passfield, 2016) and it is in negative correlation with depressive symptoms (Stoeber &
Rambow, 2007). As expected, higher levels of competition in sport are associated with
higher levels of perfectionism (Rasquinha, Dunn, & Dunn, 2014). When it comes to
gender differences in perfectionism in the sport domain, male athletes generally tend to
have higher perfectionist tendencies than female athletes (Dunn, Gotwals, & Dunn, 2005).
One of the most empirically diverse theoretical frameworks, on which a substantial
nomological network in the study of personality is based, is the Big Five model, which consists
of five dimensions of personality: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness,
Neuroticism and Openness to Experience.
Extraverted individuals are sociable, whereas introverted ones are quiet and reserved
(John, Naumann, & Soto, 2008). Extraversion is characterized by openness, assertiveness
and high levels of energy (John, Donahue, & Kentle, 1991). Individuals who score high
on Extraversion are more open, persistent, talkative and sociable than those who score
lower on Extraversion, who are in turn shy, quiet and withdrawn (Larsen & Buss, 2008).
Extraversion is associated with the values of achievement and hedonism (Roccas, Sagiv,
Schwartz, & Knafo, 2002), as well as with the pursuit of an exciting lifestyle (Roberts &
Agreeable individuals are cooperative and pleasant, rather than unpleasant (John et al.,
2008). Agreeableness is characterized by benevolence and trust. It can be viewed as a
combination of friendliness and conformity (John et al., 1991). Individuals who score
high on this dimension are warm, empathic and honest, whereas low scorers are unkind,
often rude, and sometimes even cruel (Larsen & Buss, 2008). Agreeableness is associated
with harmonious family relations, good partner relations (Roberts & Robins, 2000), and
with prosocial values as well (Haslam, Whelan, & Bastian, 2009).
Conscientiousness is characterized by tidiness, responsibility and reliability; hence
this trait is sometimes referred to as reliability (John et al., 1991). Conscientiousness
individuals are hard-working, disciplined, pedantic, and they dedicate much of their time
Personality Traits as Predictors of Perfectionism 61
to organization. These individuals are intrinsically motivated, and they invest a lot of their
time and effort into succeeding in what they are doing (Larsen & Buss, 2008).
Conscientiousness is associated with achievement goals (Costa & McCrae, 1988), as well
as interpersonal relationship goals (Roberts, O’Donnell, & Robins, 2004). Therefore, it
can be said that conscientious individuals are goal-oriented, task-oriented, as well as
reliable and punctual (Larsen & Buss, 2008).
Neuroticism is characterized by nervousness and it is a direct opposite of emotional
stability (John et al., 1991). Neurotic individuals are prone to anxiety, depression and
irritation (John et al., 2008). Individuals who score high on Neuroticism are insecure and
prone to mood swings, whereas emotionally stable individuals are calmer, more relaxed
and more stable (Larsen & Buss, 2008). Furthermore, scoring high on Neuroticism points
to suggestibility, lack of persistence when it comes to obstacles, sluggishness, lower
verbal fluency, and rigidity. Also classified as characteristics of Neuroticism are sense of
inferiority, nervousness, avoiding effort, dissatisfaction, sensitivity, moodiness and being
easily offended (Fulgosi, 1997). On the other hand, emotional stability refers more to the
strategies one uses to overcome stress and different obstacles in life (Larsen & Buss,
2008). Emotionally stable individuals tend not to get upset unless they are faced with
what is for them personally a very powerful stressor. Only in the cases of long-term and
powerful stress do emotionally stable individuals express symptoms of neurosis
(Smederevac & Mitrović, 2006).
Openness to experience is characterized by originality, curiosity and ingenuity. This
factor is sometimes referred to as Culture, due to its emphasis on intellect and
independence (John et al., 1991). Individuals that are open to experience have a variety of
interests and a refined taste in art and beauty (John et al., 2008). Individuals who score
high on this dimension are creative, imaginative, and since they have a wide array of
interests, they love to explore the unknown, whereas low scorers are conventional in their
appearance and behaviour, tend to have narrow interest, are prone to conservative
attitudes, and prefer the familiar to the unknown (Larsen & Buss, 2008). Openness to
experience is often associated with autonomy (Roccas et al., 2002).
The Relationship between Perfectionism and Personality Traits
Even though perfectionism is often studied as a distinct personality trait (Stoeber &
Childs, 2010), it is a construct which is often included in the assessment of other
personality traits and it is, more or less, directly described in different personality models.
Cattell (1950) describes perfectionism as one of the 16 primary personality factors.
Individuals who score low on the Perfectionism scale (Q3) on Cattell’s Sixteen
Personality Factor (16PF) questionnaire, are described as people who tolerate disorder,
and are flexible, whereas high scorers are described as those exceedingly disciplined who
aim to achieve perfect results (Cattell, Cattell, & Cattell, 1999). In the Big Five model,
perfectionism is described as an extreme manifestation of Conscientiousness, and as
closely related to Neuroticism, especially in situations when the person fails at fulfilling
their own highly set standards (Costa & McCrae, 1988). Even though Eysenck (1990) did
not recognize perfectionism as a distinct trait in his personality model, Flett et al. (Flett,
Hewitt, & Dyck, 1989) found that perfectionism is in high correlation with the
Neuroticism scale in the Eysenck’s personality questionnaire. That correlation shows that
62 Ž. BOJANIĆ, D. ŠAKAN, J. NEDELJKOVIĆ
highly perfectionist individuals fear negative evaluations, possess a powerful need for
approval from their environment, as well as that these individuals show signs of emotional
instability (Flett, Hewitt, Blankstein, & O’Brien, 1991). In general, literature shows that,
out of all the personality traits, Neuroticism is the most significant predictor of
perfectionism (Stoeber, & Stoeber, 2009; Khodarahimi, 2010; Flett et al., 1989).
Several dimensions of perfectionism from the model created by Frost et al. (Frost et al.,
1990), primarily high standards and a preference for order and organization, are related to
Conscientiousness, particularly its two facets: striving for achievement and self-discipline.
Stoeber & Stoeber (2009) confirmed this correlation and added that Conscientiousness is
related to self-directed perfectionism. Conscientiousness was also proven to be a significant
predictor of perfectionism in a longitudinal study. However, Conscientiousness was not
shown to have a significant correlation with perfectionism in an Iranian sample
(Khodarahimi, 2010), hence we can assume that these correlations are culturally dependent.
The relationships between Extraversion, Openness to Experience and perfectionism are not
as clear yet as the relationships between perfectionism and the two personality traits
mentioned above. In literature, it is noted that Extraversion and Openness to experience
usually do not show any significant correlation with perfectionism (Navarez, 2011), and
even in the cases when they do, that correlation is typically weak and negative. Therefore,
the relationship between these constructs is merely based on assumptions. It can be expected
that the individuals who score high on perfectionism will be less open to others, as well as to
new ideas, experiences and activities, out of fear of making a mistake. This is because
perfectionists prefer routine patterns of behaviour and novelty, and uncertainty could make
Nevertheless, when a distinction is made between adaptive (a person sets high
personal standards and succeeds in achieving them) and maladaptive perfectionism (a
person sets high personal standards according to which they value their personal
achievements, but those standards are unattainable to them, and so they become a source
of frustration and dissatisfaction (Gilman & Ashby, 2003), it is easier to elaborate on the
relationship between Extraversion and perfectionism. In that case, Extraversion is,
alongside Conscientiousness, a significant predictor of adaptive perfectionism, which
means that Extraversion may be manifested in perfectionists, but only if we consider their
perfectionism as adaptive.
Regarding the relationship between perfectionism and Agreeableness, the results of
the studies mostly point to a negative correlation, which can be explained by perfectionist
unrealistic expectations of others, and their highly set demands (Habke & Flynn, 2002).
When it comes to the gender differences in the way perfectionism is manifested, the
results of the studies mostly show that there are no gender differences. Khodarahimi
(2010), Stoeber & Stoeber (2009) and Navarez (2011) have concluded that perfectionism
is equally present in both men and women in the general population. Childs & Stoeber
(2012) confirmed this finding in the business context. However, Hewitt & Flett (1991)
reached different results, and they concluded that perfectionism is more present in men,
but only in the case of Other-Oriented Perfectionism. Such findings demand further
research into gender differences in how perfectionism is manifested, especially its
Personality Traits as Predictors of Perfectionism 63
Aims and objectives
Even though a great number of studies has already documented the relationship
between personality traits and perfectionism, the results of those studies have not always
been consistent. Therefore, this study was conducted in order to confirm the nature of the
above-mentioned relationship. In addition, the majority of the studies were conducted in
foreign countries, hence another purpose of this study is to shed light on the relationship
between perfectionism and personality traits in the Serbian population. The sample is
general, but it mostly consists of the student population, because perfectionism is most
widely manifested in young people during the period when they start their independent
lives. A study conducted in a transition country, on a sample of a vulnerable group of
young people in search of their identities, can contribute to the better understanding of the
way these individuals function and adapt. The general aim of this study was to explore the
relationship between personality traits and perfectionism in Serbia, but the study also
delves into gender differences in the way different types of perfectionism are manifested.
Although done on the general population, obtained results of this study can help sports
professionals better understand perfectionism among athletes and its relationship with
Questionnaire for measuring perfectionism; The questionnaire used to measure
perfectionism was the Perfectionism Inventory scale (Perfectionism Inventory, PI; Hill,
Huelsman, Furr, Kibler, Vicente, & Kennedy, 2004). It consists of eight scales measuring:
Concern Over Mistakes (α = 0.86), High Standards for Others (α = 0.83), Need for Approval
(α =0.87), Organization (α = 0.91), Perceived Parental Pressure (α = 0.88), Planfulness (α =
0.86), Rumination (α = 0.87), and Striving for Excellence (α = 0.85). It can also be used to
measure two higher-order perfectionism facets: Conscientious Perfectionism (High
Standards for Others + Organization + Planfulness + Striving for Excellence; α = 0.75) and
Self-Evaluative Perfectionism (Concern Over Mistakes + Need for Approval + Perceived
Parental Pressure + Rumination; α = 0.79), as well as Perfectionism Inventory Composite,
by calculating the sum of all the PI scales. The questionnaire is made up of 59 items, which
are evaluated on a five-point scale of agreement.
Inventory for the evaluation of personality traits; The Big Five Inventory (Big Five
Inventory, BFI; John & Srivastava, 1999, adapted by Trogrlić and Vasić in Trogrlić,
2009), which relies on the Big Five model, was used to assess personality traits:
Extraversion (α = 0.81), Neuroticism (α = 0.81), Conscientiousness (α = 0.83),
Agreeableness (α = 0.75), and Openness to Experience (α = 0.82). BFI consists of 44
items and uses a five-point scale of agreement.
64 Ž. BOJANIĆ, D. ŠAKAN, J. NEDELJKOVIĆ
A total of 302 respondents aged 18 to 57 years (AS = 26.98) participated in this study.
The majority of the respondents were female (Table 1). The sample mostly consists of the
student population; hence the majority of the respondents are also unemployed students.
Table 1 Sample description.
Number of respondents
Education of respondents
Primary and secondary school
Studies in progress
Higher or higher education
Working status of respondents
The study was conducted from March to May 2017 on the territory of Republic of
Serbia via an online questionnaire.
In determining the significance of the predictors of perfectionism, three multiple
regression analyses were conducted, one for each of the tested criterion variable. The
predictor variables were the Big Five personality traits (Extraversion, Neuroticism,
Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Openness to experience), and the criterion variables
were the dimensions of higher-order perfectionism (Conscientious Perfectionism, Self-
Evaluative Perfectionism and Perfectionism Inventory Composite). The gender differences
in the way perfectionism is manifested were examined via a t-test, in which the dependent
variables were all of the lower-order perfectionism facets (Concern Over Mistakes, High
Standards for Others, Need for Approval, Organization, Perceived Parental Pressure,
Planfulness, Rumination, and Striving for Excellence), and three higher-order ones
(Conscientious Perfectionism, Self-Evaluative Perfectionism and Perfectionism Inventory
Composite). The independent variable was gender (1 = male, 2 = female).
Table 2 shows the correlations between different dimensions of perfectionism, the
arithmetic mean, the standard deviation and the results of the t-test used to determine the
gender differences in the perfectionism scales. The results of the correlation analysis indicate
that the intercorrelations between the dimensions of perfectionism are generally high,
Personality Traits as Predictors of Perfectionism 65
especially the correlations between dimensions that belong to the same group. The registered
gender differences point that the facets Organization (M(m) = 30.33, M(f) = 28.83),
Planfulness (M(m) = 25.86, M(f) = 23.78) and Conscientious Perfectionism (M(m) = 96.86,
M(f) = 91.68), are more expressed in men, whereas Perceived Parental Pressure (M(m) =
19.59, M(f) = 22.39) is more expressed in women.
Table 2 Means, Standard Deviations, gender differences and correlations among Scales.
High Standards for
Need for Approval
Legend: Scale M – scale mean; Scale SD – scale standard deviation; * p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01.
In the Tables 3, 4 and 5 the main results of the multiple regression analyses are
presented. Basic dimensions of personality are the predictor variables, and Conscientious
Perfectionism (Table 3), Self-Evaluative Perfectionism (Table 4) and Perfectionism
Inventory Composite (Table 5) are the criterion variables. All three models that were
tested are of a statistical significance, but the personality traits explain the greatest
proportion of the variance for the criterion variable tested first – Conscientious
Perfectionism. Perfectionism Inventory Composite explains 21% of its variance, Self-
Evaluative Perfectionism 22 %, and Conscientious Perfectionism 34 %.
Table 3 Proportions of variance (R2), their change (R2) and the statistical significance
of this change (F) (criterion: Conscientious Perfectionism).
Basic dimensions of personality
Note: p(F) < 0,01.
66 Ž. BOJANIĆ, D. ŠAKAN, J. NEDELJKOVIĆ
Table 4 Proportions of variance (R2), their change (R2) and the statistical significance
of this change (F) (criterion: Self-Evaluative Perfectionism).
Basic dimensions of personality
Not: p(F) < 0,01.
Table 5 Proportions of variance (R2), their change (R2) and the statistical significance
of this change (F) (criterion: Perfectionism Inventory Composite).
Basic dimensions of personality
Not: p(F) < 0,01.
Tables 6, 7 and 8 show the partial contributions of personality traits as predictors of
Conscientious Perfectionism (Table 6), Self-Evaluative Perfectionism (Table 7) and
Perfectionism Inventory Composite (Table 8). Almost all five personality traits are stable
predictors in all models. The exception is Conscientiousness as a predictor of Self-Evaluative
Perfectionism. Traits that have a positive predictive value in predicting all three criterion
variables are Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness to experience. Out of the three
traits, the most significant contributing predictor of Conscientious Perfectionism and
Perfectionism Inventory Composite is Conscientiousness, and the most significant contributing
predictor of Self-Evaluative Perfectionism is Neuroticism. Extraversion and Agreeableness are
shown to have a negative partial contribution. Agreeableness is a more significant negative
predictor of Conscientious Perfectionism than Extraversion. On the other hand, Extraversion is
a more significant negative predictor of the criterion variable tested second – Self-Evaluative
Perfectionism, than Agreeableness. When it comes to Perfectionism Inventory Composite,
negative predictors are shown to be of almost equal amount.
Table 6 Partial contributions to personality traits
in predicting criteria Conscientious Perfectionism.
Openness to experience
Note: * p < 0,05; ** p < 0,01.
Table 7 Partial contributions to personality traits in
predicting criteria Self-Evaluative Perfectionism.
Openness to experience
Note: * p < 0,05; ** p < 0,01.
Personality Traits as Predictors of Perfectionism 67
Table 8 Partial contributions to personality traits in predicting
criteria Perfectionism Inventory Composite.
Openness to experience
Note: * p < 0,05; ** p < 0,01.
The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between perfectionism and
personality traits on a Serbian sample. Previous studies were conducted on foreign
territories; hence this study was conducted to test those findings on the Serbian population
living in a transition country. The sample primarily consists of students, young people in
search of their identities.
When it comes to gender differences, men scored higher than women on Organization,
Planfulness and Conscientious Perfectionism, whereas women scored higher than men on
Perceived Parental Pressure. A greater tendency towards organization in men than in women
has not been previously documented, what’s more stable gender differences point to a
greater tendency towards organization in women (Poropat, 2009; Costa, Terracciano, &
McCrae, 2001). These findings can be a consequence of the need men feel to provide for
their family, or of the idiosyncrasy of the sample in our study. Due to greater emotional
sensitivity and a need to care for their family, (Poropat, 2009; Costa et al., 2001) Perceived
Parental Pressure is more strongly manifested in women than in men. Further research is
required in order to confirm these gender differences in the way perfectionism is manifested,
and also to include other psychological traits to gain a better understanding of these
In this study, basic personality traits according to the Big Five model: Extraversion,
Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Openness to experience, are shown to
be significant predictors of the three higher-order perfectionism facets: Conscientious
Perfectionism, Self-Evaluative Perfectionism, and Perfectionism Inventory Composite. The
primary results of the regression analyses show that the three models that were tested have
statistical significance, and that the predictor variables, i.e. the basic personality traits, account
for one-fifth to one-third of the total variance in the criterion measures of perfectionism. Almost
all dimensions of personality traits are stable predictors in all the models. The exception is
Conscientiousness as a predictor of Self-Evaluative Perfectionism. Traits that have a positive
predictive value in predicting all three criteria are Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and
Openness to experience. Extraversion and Agreeableness are shown to have a negative partial
contribution. These constellations of predictors mean that the individuals who score higher on
Conscientious Perfectionism and Perfectionism Inventory Composite are very conscientious,
open to new experiences, emotionally unstable, less agreeable in interpersonal relations, and
tend to keep to themselves. There was a slightly different constellation in the criterion
measures of Self-Evaluative Perfectionism – the dimension of perfectionism that relates to
68 Ž. BOJANIĆ, D. ŠAKAN, J. NEDELJKOVIĆ
questioning oneself, concern over mistakes, rumination and perception of parental pressure.
Individuals who score high on this type of perfectionism are more vulnerable, exhibit poor
social adaptation, poor coping mechanisms, they keep to themselves, establish less pleasant
relationships with other people, are less tolerant, but more open to new experiences. These
characteristics in a given individual are not affected by the degree of exhibited
Conscientiousness. Such findings generally confirm the existing empirical framework which
points to stable correlations between Neuroticism, Conscientiousness and perfectionism. The
only trait shown in the studies so far to be an inconsistent predictor of perfectionism was
Openness to experience.
So far, literature has suggested that Neuroticism is the most significant predictor of
Perfectionism, and that relationship can be interpreted as perfectionist sensitivity or
deliberation on personal actions and potential mistakes (Hewitt et Flett, 1991; Flett et al.,
1989; Stoeber & Stoeber, 2009; Khodarahimi, 2010). Conscientiousness is also a significant
correlate of perfectionism according to the previous studies, and those correlations are
interpreted as a perfectionist preference for order and discipline (Frost et al., 1990; Stoeber
& Stoeber, 2009), because in order to achieve highly set standards, good organization and
self-discipline is crucial. When it comes to Openness to experience, this trait has either not
shown any correlation with perfectionism at all, or these correlations were quite weak and
negative (Navarez, 2011). However, in our study this trait was shown to be a positive
predictor of perfectionism. Perfectionists are open to new ideas and novelties, and they have
a wide array of interests. Such result could be the consequence of the sample mostly
consisting of the student population seeking new opportunities and life stability which
requires a more open worldview. Extraversion and Agreeableness were shown to have a
negative partial contribution in explaining perfectionism. The correlation between
perfectionism and Extraversion has not been clear so far, and even when it was documented,
it usually pointed to adaptive perfectionism (Gilman & Ashby, 2003). Our study indicates
that perfectionists tend to keep to themselves, are withdrawn and quiet, which corresponds
with the assumption that perfectionists like to be surrounded by familiar people and the
aspect of social influence in perfectionism is sometimes problematic. Such findings have to
do with Neuroticism, because perfectionists are generally more concerned with the
evaluation of their actions from a new environment than a familiar one, and consequently
they establish more distant relationships with people. Perfectionists generally can have
problems with interpersonal relations because they set high expectations for others, which is
consistent with the results that point to their lower Agreeableness.
In this paper the established gender differences indicate that Organization, Planfulness
and Conscientious Perfectionism are more manifested in men than women, whereas
Perceived Parental Pressure is more manifested in women than men. Furthermore, the
results of the regression analyses indicated that perfectionism correlates with basic
personality traits, and that perfectionists generally keep to themselves, are less tolerant of
others, often concerned, sensitive to their own actions and those of others, but open to
new experiences. The obtained results (not without limitations) can be interpolated to
Personality Traits as Predictors of Perfectionism 69
sport-specific situations and can help coaches and sports psychologists provide more
adequate selection and better career management of athletes.
Acknowledgement: The work was created within the project Proactive behavior of young people as
the basis of social integrity and prosperity no. 142-451-3555 / 2017 financed by the Provincial
Secretariat for Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.
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OSOBINE LIČNOSTI KAO PREDIKTORI PERFEKCIONIZMA
Cilj ovog istraživanja bio je ispitati uloge osobina ličnosti kao prediktora u odnosu na
perfekcionizam i utvrditi da li postoje polne razlike u izraženosti perfekcionizma. Istraživanje je
sprovedeno na 302 ispitanika, starosti od 18 do 57 godina. Upitnik za merenje perfekcionizma
sastoji se od faktora prvog reda Zabrinutost za greške, Visoki standardi za druge, Potreba za
potvrđivanjem, Organizacija, Percepcija roditeljskih očekivanja, Planiranje, Preispitivanje, i
Besprekornost, i tri faktora višeg reda Savesni perfekcionizam, Samovrednosni perfekcionizam i
Ukupni perfekcionizam. Inventar za procenu osobina ličnosti BFI korišćen je za merenje osobina
ličnosti prema modelu Velikih pet: Ekstraverzija, Neuroticizam, Savesnost, Prijatnost i Otvorenost
prema iskustvu. Upotrebom t-testa registrovane su polne razlike u korist muškaraca u izraženosti
Organizacije, Planiranja i Savesnog perfekcionizma, a u korist žena Percepcija roditeljskih
očekivanja. U proveri značajnosti korelata perfekcionizma sprovedene su tri višestruke regresione
analize, po jedna za svaki od testiranih kriterijuma. U statusu prediktorskih varijabli bili su
sumacioni skorovi na dimenzijama osobina ličnosti, a kriterijumi sumacioni skorovi na
dimenzijama višeg reda perfekcionizma. Sva tri testirana modela statistički su značajna, a skup
prediktora, sačinjen od bazičnih osobina ličnosti, objašnjava od jedne petine do jedne trećine
ukupne varijanse prostora merenja perfekcionizma. Gotovo sve osobine ličnosti su značajni
prediktori perfekcionizma, izuzev Savesnosti u predviđanju Samovrednosnog perfekcionizma. Na
osnovu rezultata može se zaključiti da su perfekcionisti, generalno, okrenuti ka sebi, manje
tolerantni prema drugim ljudima, često zabrinuti, osetljivi na lične i tuđe postupke, ali otvore ni
prema novim iskustvima. Ishodovani rezultati doprinose boljem razumevanju prilagođavanja i
funkcionisanja mladih, uključujući i sportiste.
Ključne reči: perfekcionizam, osobine ličnost, pol, sport.