Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Psychology: Clinical-Counseling Psychology
Jeffrey H. Kahn
Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by high standards for performance (Frost, Marten, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1990) and a striving for flawlessness (Flett & Hewitt, 2002). Maladaptive perfectionism, which has to do with self-critical thoughts (Dunkley, Zuroff, & Blankstein, 2003) and feelings of falling short of high standards (Slaney, Rice, & Ashby, 2002), is often associated with maladaptive strategies of emotion regulation (Aldea & Rice, 2006; Dunkley et al., 2003; Rudolph, Flett, & Hewitt, 2007). Additionally, research has shown that general use of maladaptive emotion regulation strategies mediates the relation between maladaptive perfectionism and distress (Aldea & Rice, 2006; Di Schiena, Luminet, Philippot, & Douilliez, 2012; Macedo et al., 2015). However, to my knowledge, this mediation had not been studied when an individual experiences acute distress and must actively regulate his or her emotions. This study set out to validate the general mediation model and then determine if this model occurs between maladaptive perfectionism, momentary maladaptive emotion regulation, and momentary distress when an experience of failure is induced. I elicited distress to determine if the level of failure that one faced would moderate the pathway between maladaptive perfectionism and maladaptive emotion regulation in the mediation model. Results showed that when all three mediators were examined in a structural equation model, typical use of rumination mediated the relation between trait levels of maladaptive perfectionism and typical distress, but typical use of suppression and reappraisal did not. In the acute distress model, moderated mediation was present for one’s momentary use of rumination, but not for suppression and reappraisal. More specifically, momentary rumination mediated the path between maladaptive perfectionism and momentary distress in the low-failure condition but not in the high-failure condition. This finding demonstrates that for individuals high in maladaptive perfectionism, situations that result in extremely high distress may result in one detaching from his or her goals in order to avoid feeling inferior. Limitations, future directions, and implications are discussed.
Woodrum, Jennifer L., "Mediation Among Maladaptive Perfectionism, Maladaptive Emotion Regulation, and Distress" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 1206.