The Relationship of Positive and Negative Perfectionism to Academic Achievement, Achievement Motivation, and Well-Being in Tertiary Students
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The relationship between positive and negative perfectionism, and academic achievement, motivation and well-being in tertiary students was investigated. It was hypothesized that higher levels of positive perfectionism would be associated with higher academic achievement, higher achievement motivation, lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress, the use of more adaptive coping strategies, and positive personality variables, compared with negative perfectionists. Additionally, it was hypothesized that higher levels of negative perfectionism would be associated with lower levels of academic achievement, lower achievement motivation, higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress, the use of more maladaptive coping strategies, and negative personality variables. 99 first year tertiary students participated, 71 from the University of Canterbury, and 28 from the Christchurch College of Education. The Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS) was used to measure positive, negative and total levels of perfectionism. The short-form of the Ray Achievement Orientation Scale (Ray AO) was used to measure the level of achievement motivation. The NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI) was used to measure the "Big Five" personality variables (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience). The Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) was used to measure levels of positive and negative affect. The Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) was used to measure levels of depression, anxiety and stress. The COPE was used to measure the use of functional and dysfunctional coping strategies. Demographic and academic information were obtained from student's academic files. The results indicated that, generally, the hypotheses were correct. Positive perfectionism showed associations with higher academic achievement, higher achievement motivation, positive personality factors, and more use of functional forms of coping, while negative perfectionism showed associations with negative affect, depression, anxiety, stress, negative personality factors, and more use of dysfunctional coping strategies. It is therefore concluded that positive perfectionism can have a positive association with academic achievement, achievement motivation and general well-being, while negative perfectionism can have a negative association with these factors. Many individuals are concerned with meeting high standards for performance. Consequently, the concept of perfectionism has been studied increasingly in the last few decades. The concept has evolved to now being formally defined, theoretically integrated and empirically measured (Flett & Hewitt, 2002a; Flett & Hewitt, 2002b; Rheaume, Freeston, Dugas, Letarte & Ladouceur, 1995).