Perfectionistic self-presentation, socially prescribed perfectionism, and suicide in youth: A test of the perfectionism social disconnection model

The role of interpersonal components of perfectionism in suicide outcomes among youth was assessed and the Perfectionism Social Disconnection Model (PSDM) was tested by determining whether the links between socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP) and perfectionistic self-presentation (PSP) and suicide outcomes are mediated by experiences of social disconnection, as indicated by social hopelessness and being bullied. PSP, trait perfectionism, suicide outcomes, and experiences of being bullied and social hopelessness were measured in 152 psychiatric outpatient children and adolescents. Correlational tests confirmed that PSP and SPP were associated with suicide outcomes and these interpersonal perfectionism components were associated significantly with bullying and social hopelessness. Support was also obtained for the PSDM. The relationship between the PSP facets, particularly nondisplay of imperfections, and suicide outcomes were mediated by being bullied. Additionally, the relationship between all interpersonal components of perfectionism and suicide risk was mediated by social hopelessness. Theoretical and clinical implications of interpersonal components of perfectionism and social disconnection in suicide outcomes for youth are discussed.