Mediators and moderators of the relationships between perfectionism and psychological distress

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Catherine Lutz Zois


Perfectionism is a multifaceted construct that has consistently been found to be related to various forms of psychopathology as well as interpersonal problems. The current study aimed to expand our knowledge of this area by examining the relationships between perfectionism (i.e., general perfectionistic concerns, socially-prescribed perfectionism, other-oriented perfectionism, and perfectionistic self-presentation), conflict resolution behaviors, relationship quality, and depression. According to the social disconnection model, perfectionism indirectly leads to adjustment problems (e.g., depression) through interpersonal disconnectedness and conflict (Hewitt, Flett, Sherry, & Caelian, 2006). Eighty-seven undergraduate students were asked to fill out self-report questionnaires to assess these constructs. I hypothesized that negative conflict behaviors and relationship quality would mediate the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism constructs and depression. I also predicted that perfectionistic self-presentation would mediate the association between perfectionistic concerns and depression. Furthermore, I predicted that positive conflict resolution strategies would moderate the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and depression. The results indicated that negative conflict total scores mediated the relationship between general perfectionistic concerns and depression. In addition, compliance conflict behaviors mediated the relationship between socially-prescribed perfectionism and depression. No support was found for the remaining mediation or moderation hypotheses. Implications of these findings, limitations of the current study, and directions for future research are discussed.


Perfectionism (Personality trait) Psychological aspects, Interpersonal conflict Psychological aspects, Distress (Psychology), Clinical Psychology, perfectionism, perfectionistic concerns, socially-prescribed perfectionism, other-oriented perfectionism, perfectionistic self-presentation, romantic relationships, relationship quality, depression, social disconnection, interpersonal conflict

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Copyright 2015, author