The role of perfectionism in psychological health: A study of adolescents in Pakistan


  • Farva Mansoor Butt


This study investigated the effects of perfectionism on psychological health and explored the adaptive and maladaptive dimensions of perfectionism in the Eastern culture of Pakistan. Demographic data were also analyzed. Participants were 323 university students (144 males & 179 females), who completed the Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (Frost, Marten, Lahart & Rosenblate, 1990), the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck & Mermelstein, 1983), the Psychological Well-being Measure (Ryff, 1989) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (Zigmond & Snaith, 1983). Results indicate that overall perfectionism has a significant positive relationship with psychological distress and non-significant negative relationship with psychological well-being. Three dimensions of perfectionism, personal standards (PS), parental expectations (PE) and organization (OG), have a significant positive relationship with psychological well-being, similarly other three dimensions – concern over mistake (CM), parental criticism (PC) and doubt about actions (DA) – have a strong positive relationship with psychological distress. Results of Independent sample t-tests indicate that there is a significant difference between high and low overall perfectionism groups on stress, depression, anxiety, psychological distress and two sub-scales of psychological well-being – environmental mastery and purpose in life. Moreover, individuals having high scores on CM, PC and DA also have high scores on depression, stress, anxiety and psychological distress as compared to low scorers on the same scales, whereas high scored PS, PE and OG groups showed high level of psychological well-being, environmental mastery and purpose in life. Finally, analyses of demographic data indicate that only age has a significant effect on DA and age by gender interaction has a significant effect on PE. Potential implications for educational and counseling purposes are discussed.