Perfectionism dimensions and research productivity in psychology professors: Implications for understanding the (mal)adaptiveness of perfectionism

The consequences of demanding perfection of oneself are hotly debated, with researchers typically arguing for either the adaptiveness or the maladaptiveness of this trait. Research informing this debate involves mainly psychiatric patients, undergraduates, and self-report data, suggesting a need to broaden this relatively narrow evidence base. The present study examines self-oriented perfectionism (i.e.,demanding perfection of oneself), conscientiousness, socially prescribed perfectionism, neuroticism, and research productivity in psychology professors. Self-oriented perfectionism was negatively related to total number of publications, number of first-authored publications, number of citations, and journal impact rating, even after controlling for competing predictors (e.g., conscientiousness). Self-oriented perfectionism may represent a form of counterproductive over striving that limits research productivity amongst psychology professors. Although self-oriented perfectionism is often labeled as adaptive, such statements may be overly general.