Perfectionism in children: Associations with depression, anxiety, and anger

The relationships among measures of dimensions of perfectionism, depression, anxiety, stress, and anger were investigated in 114 children (45 males and 69 females, aged 10–15 years). Based on previous research [e.g. Hewitt, P. L. & Flett, G. L. (1993). Dimensions of perfectionism, daily stress, and depression: a test of the specific vulnerability hypothesis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology , 102 , 58–65], self-oriented perfectionism and socially prescribed perfectionism were hypothesized to interact with either achievement stress or social stress to predict concurrent depression. Participants completed the Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale, Children’s Depression Inventory, Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale-Revised, Children’s Hassles Scale, and Pediatric Anger Expression Scale. Results revealed that self-oriented perfectionism was significantly associated with depression and anxiety, whereas socially prescribed perfectionism was significantly correlated with depression, anxiety, social stress, anger-suppression, and outwardly directed anger. Findings also indicated that: (1) self-oriented perfectionism interacted with social stress to predict anxiety, and that (2) self-oriented perfectionism interacted with achievement stress and with social stress to predict depression. Results suggest that dimensions of perfectionism may be relevant variables in, and differential predictors of, maladjustment and distress in children.