Perfectionism: good, bad, or growth?

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in General Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Jack J. Bauer


Perfectionism has been predominantly studied from a clinical perspective, and has only more recently been studied from a normative perspective. Luyckx et al. (2008) studied how personality differences in two facets of perfectionism--adaptive (striving for improvement) and maladaptive (striving for perfect performance)--relate to identity formation and well-being. However, no research has tested adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism experimentally to show how these two facets of perfectionism affect task performance and task motivation (i.e., the subjective experience of the task). In the current study, 78 University of Dayton participants were surveyed for personality characteristics relating to perfectionism and motivation and were then randomly assigned to one of two conditions, one eliciting a motivation for adaptive perfectionism and another for maladaptive perfectionism. Results show that participants primed with adaptive instructions found more solutions than participants primed with maladaptive instructions on the anagram task but no differences were found on the creativity test. Finally, personality did not affect performance; therefore, the interaction between person and situation was not evaluated.


Perfectionism (Personality trait), Adjustment (Psychology), Personality and motivation, Social psychology; perfectionism; adaptive; maladaptive; motivation; growth; intrinsic; extrinsic; passion; harmonious; obsessive

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2013, author