• perfectionism;
  • self-efficacy;
  • fear of failure;
  • motivation;
  • goal setting;
  • anxiety


We argue and demonstrate that setting high standards, an essential aspect of perfectionism, is not associated with maladaptive responses in and of itself. Rather, our findings suggest that people's responses to their perceptions that they consistently fail to meet their own standards are maladaptive. More importantly, in the present survey study (n = 293), we extend previous research by showing that low personal standards and the perception that others are imposing high standards on the self operate in concert to strengthen the link between perceived discrepancy and psychological distress. Furthermore, in support of our moderation-mediation model, regression analyses provided evidence for the mediating role of generalised self-efficacy beliefs. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.