Trait perfectionism : an investigation of the mediating effects of negative repetitive thought and the role of mindfulness
DisciplinePsychology : Clinical
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Although perfectionism has been related to various maladaptive outcomes, several studies have demonstrated inconsistent relationships between the dimensions of trait perfectionism and psychological distress. Furthermore, little research has examined mechanisms underlying maladaptive trait perfectionism or potential intervention strategies. The aim of the current study was to investigate the mediating effects of worry and rumination on the relationships between maladaptive trait perfectionism and psychological distress, and to relate these multiple mediator models to a five-facet model of mindfulness. A battery of questionnaires was employed to examine these relationships in a sample of 213 undergraduate university students. Socially prescribed perfectionism was strongly related to psychological distress, including negative affect, depression, anxiety, and stress, while self-oriented perfectionism and other-oriented perfectionism appeared generally unrelated to psychological distress. In terms of mindfulness, the facets of acting with awareness, non-judging of inner experience, and to a lesser extent nonreactivity to inner experience, appeared to be the strongest independent contributors to the variables in the mediational models, namely, socially prescribed perfectionism, worry, rumination, and psychological distress. Furthermore, worry and rumination mediated the relationship between socially prescribed perfectionism and negative affect; however, in the presence of high levels of dispositional mindfulness, rumination was no longer a mediating mechanism in this model. Overall, socially prescribed perfectionism emerged as the most detrimental dimension of trait perfectionism and dispositional mindfulness appeared to play a role in decreased levels of related negative repetitive thoughts and psychological distress.