Adolescent perfectionism: Structural features of the Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale and correlates with attachment and psychopathology

Emily Taylor, Rachel Couper, Carolyn Maeve Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Perfectionism is recognised as a significant risk factor for psychopathology. Emerging research links attachment to perfectionism in adult and college-age samples. The Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (FMPS) has been used in adults and adolescents with a variety of factor structures found. This study sought to establish the factor structure in a general adolescent sample prior to testing for associations between perfectionism, attachment and psychopathology in the same sample.

Design: A cross-sectional survey design was used. confirmatory factor analysis, correlational and regression analyses were employed.
Methods: 290 adolescents, aged 12-18 years, were recruited from a state secondary school. All completed the FMPS along with brief measures of attachment and psychopathology.
Results: Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses failed to replicate previously published models, and a new 6-item, 1-factor model representing perfectionism was found instead. This new variable was then used to establish a role for perfectionism and attachment anxiety in predicting internalising problems. Perfectionism also correlated with conduct problems and hyperactivity.

Conclusions: This study established a novel factor structure for the FMPS, allowing proof of principle of the role of perfectionism in a relationship with attachment and psychopathology, which after replication, may inform new interventions for perfectionism. Caution is noted about the use of extant perfectionism measures that are not properly developmentally informed and which do not capture the dynamic nature of adolescence and adolescent perfectionism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-704
JournalPsychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice
Volume90
Issue number4
Early online date6 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • adolescent
  • attachment anxiety
  • perfectionism
  • psychopathology

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