Understanding the socially prescribed perfectionist’s cycle of self-defeat: A 7-day, 14-occasion daily diary study

People high in socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP; i.e., those who perceive others demand perfection of them) behave in ways that are incongruent with their efforts to be perfect. The present research suggests SPP is associated with a cycle of perfectionistic discrepancies, perfectionistic self-presentation, depressive affect, and self-defeating behaviors (i.e., binge eating, procrastination, interpersonal conflict). When testing the model, 317 undergraduates completed structured daily diaries. Results of multilevel structural equation modeling largely supported hypotheses. People high in SPP experience patterns of self-evaluation, self-presentation, and affect that are associated with their self-defeating behaviors. These behaviors undermine their efforts to be or look perfect for others and set the stage for yet another go around in their cycle of self-defeat.