The present study examined perfectionism and general coping ability as assessed by a new measure of constructive thinking. A sample of 77 students completed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS) and the Constructive Thinking Inventory (CTI). The MPS provides measures of self-oriented, other-oriented, and socially-prescribed perfectionism, while the CTI provides various measures, including summary scores of global constructive thinking, emotional coping, behavioral coping, categorical thinking, personal superstitious thinking, naive optimism, and esoteric thinking. Subjects also completed a measure of depressive symptoms so that we could examine perfectionism and coping independent of current levels of adjustment. The main finding was that socially prescribed perfectionism was associated with less constructive thinking and more negative coping across most of the CTI subscales, and these associations remained significant after removing variance due to levels of depression symptoms. Self-oriented perfectionism was adaptive in that it was associated with active forms of behavioral coping, but it was maladaptive in that it was associated with a form of emotional coping involving reduced self-acceptance. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for the cognitive treatment of perfectionists.
Flett, Gordon L.; Russo, Frank A.; and Hewitt, Paul L., "Dimensions of perfectionism and constructive thinking as a coping response" (1994). Psychology Publications and Research. Paper 3.