Perhaps you know a perfectionist in your life--a person who has very high standards and tends to be self-critical about any errors they make. Do perfectionists really do better work? Are they happier than others?
According to most research, perfectionism is not particularly good for people. This short summary features work by psychologist Gordon Flett (York University, Toronto) and his colleagues. He explains that perfectionists may actually be less likely to complete quality work--even though they try harder to do so. Producing lower quality work may be a "cost of perfectionism," according to this research.
Some of the largest costs associated with perfectionism may be in terms of poor health. A longitudinal study following a sample of Canadians over 6.5 years showed that trait perfectionism predicted earlier mortality (Fry & Debats, 2009). This finding held even after controlling for other health risk factors such as pessimism and low conscientiousness.
a) Do you recognize the telltale signs of multiple regression here? Reread the quote and find the key phrase that tells you regression methods were used.
b) Create a table of results, placing the dependent variable at the top, and listing the independent variables underneath, using the tables in Chapter 8 as a model. What variables did they measure in this study? Which beta is significant, according to the quote above? (Hint: There are at least three independent variables in this study, according to the quote.)
Bonus: Looking for a mediator challenge? Watch the researchers describe some recent work on perfectionism in this one-minute video, and try to identify the mediational paths they tested. In everyday language, "mechanism" can be used instead of "mediator."