Purpose: Perfectionism is considered a multidimensional construct with adaptive and maladaptive features. It was hypothesized that the diverse perfectionism components would predict well-being outcomes of similar valence. Method: The current study investigated perfectionism and mental, social, and physical health outcomes of graduate students in health science disciplines, across two semesters. We utilized two approaches in our empirical analysis. We first examined the continuous relationships between perfectionistic strivings, perfectionistic concerns, and health-related outcomes of graduate students. Additionally, we assessed differences between three perfectionism groups (i.e., adaptive, maladaptive, or non-perfectionist) on these well-being outcomes. Results: Results indicated that generally, adaptive perfectionism was related to better mental health, quality of life, and social functioning; maladaptive perfectionism was related to worse outcomes. The groups, however, did not statistically differ in general physical health. Conclusions: Overall, our results support a conceptualization of perfectionism that is differentially related to graduate student well-being. Thus, supportive networks may be fostered by differentiating between adaptive and maladaptive features of perfectionism. Moreover, we highlight the need for further discussion relative to determining perfectionism in high-achieving populations, in particular, graduate students in the health sciences.

Author Bio(s)

Kelly Filipkowski, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Misericordia University.

Alicia Nordstrom, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at Misericordia University.

Triet Pham, PhD, is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Mathematics and the Acting Director of the Master in Math Finance program at Rutgers University.

Michael Floren, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Quantitative Methods for the Department of Finance, Economics, and Data Analytics at the University of North Alabama.

Scott Massey, PhD, PA-C, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.




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