UBC Theses and Dissertations
Self-oriented perfectionism and stress-enhancement : physiological and emotional reactivity in response to an achievement-related stressor Flynn, Carol Ann
Previous research has demonstrated that self-oriented perfectionism and achievement stress work together to produce maladjustment and psychopathology. Self-oriented perfectionism may influence an individual's perception of the frequency and intensity of stressors, as well as lead to maladaptive coping styles which prolong stressful experience. In this study, 130 students engaged in challenging time-restricted math and anagram tasks. We hypothesized that self-oriented perfectionists would experience a more intense stress reaction than non-perfectionists. Stress levels were evaluated using a self-report mood questionnaire, heart rate, and salivary Cortisol levels. As expected, self-oriented perfectionism was associated with lower self-satisfaction with performance, and increased stress following the achievement task. Furthermore, those who scored high on both the self-oriented perfectionism subscale and a measure of task-oriented coping continued to experience elevated heart rates more than thirty minutes following completion of the task. Results are discussed in terms of a stress-enhancement model of perfectionism.