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Perfectionism and attachment style as factors relating to adjustment in college students

26 July 2013


Perfectionism is a construct only recently operationalized in the literature, with need identified in discovering its relationship to attachment style and patterns of adjustment in college. The first hypothesis was that a positive correlation would be evidenced between insecure attachment style and maladaptive perfectionism. The second hypothesis predicted that the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and adjustment would be weaker for students with insecure attachment styles than those with a secure attachment style. Participants were 64 first-year undergraduate students from Pacific University and Reed College. Self-report measures used to measure the variables were the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS), Experiences in Close Relationship Scale (ECR), and Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ). A Pearson product-moment correlational analysis was utilized to determine the strength and direction of the relationships between subscales. Findings indicated that the first hypothesis was supported, as a positive correlation was found between the Doubts about Actions subscale of the MPS and the Attachment Avoidance subscale of the ECR. The second hypothesis was unsupported, as a positive correlation was found between the Parental Criticism subscale of the MPS and the Personal Emotional Attachment subscale of the SACQ. These findings counter previous literature and could a) indicate resiliency of emotional development or b) externalization of problems. Future directions include identifying control variables to streamline response styles to these constructs and history of social connectedness as a protective factor aiding resiliency.


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