Perfectionism in the self and social contexts: conceptualization, assessment, and association with psychopathology

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1991 Mar;60(3):456-70. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.60.3.456.


This article attempted to demonstrate that the perfectionism construct is multidimensional, comprising both personal and social components, and that these components contribute to severe levels of psychopathology. We describe three dimensions of perfectionism: self-oriented perfectionism, other-oriented perfectionism, and socially prescribed perfectionism. Four studies confirm the multidimensionality of the construct and show that these dimensions can be assessed in a reliable and valid manner. Finally, a study with 77 psychiatric patients shows that self-oriented, other-oriented, and socially prescribed perfectionism relate differentially to indices of personality disorders and other psychological maladjustment. A multidimensional approach to the study of perfectionism is warranted, particularly in terms of the association between perfectionism and maladjustment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Assessment*
  • Personality Development*
  • Personality Disorders / psychology
  • Personality Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Desirability
  • Type A Personality*