Perfectionism and interpersonal problems revisited

In 1997, Hill and colleagues published a seminal study investigating the interpersonal quality of self-oriented, other-oriented, and socially prescribed perfectionism using the interpersonal circumplex as a framework. Findings indicated the three forms of perfectionism showed different relationships with both interpersonal traits and interpersonal problems, but also suggested that these relationships were gender-specific. Revisiting Hill et al.’s findings, the present study reexamined how the three forms of perfectionism related to interpersonal traits and problems, and tested whether the relationships also showed reliable gender differences, in a sample of 391 Prolific workers (195 men, 196 women; mean age=37.1 years). Circumplex analyses confirmed the three forms of perfectionism showed different relationships with interpersonal traits and problems. However, the relationships with interpersonal traits were stronger and more differentiated than those with interpersonal problems, and only socially prescribed perfectionism showed elevated levels of interpersonal distress. Whereas only few reliable gender differences were observed, self-oriented perfectionism had a distinctive interpersonal quality (assured–dominant) in men, but not in women. Results are discussed in relation to theory and research on perfectionism and personality, the expanded perfectionism social disconnection model, and conceptions of other-oriented perfectionism as a “dark” form of perfectionism.