Perfectionism, Ego Defense Styles, and Depression: A Comparison of Self-Reports Versus Informant Ratings

Authors

  • Gordon L. Flett,

    1. York University
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    • Avi Besser Department of Behavioral Sciences, Sapir Academic College, D. N. Hof Ashkelon, Israel; Gordon L. Flett, Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada; Paul L. Hewitt, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, D.T. Kenny Building, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z4.

  • Avi Besser,

    1. Sapir Academic College, Israel
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    • Avi Besser Department of Behavioral Sciences, Sapir Academic College, D. N. Hof Ashkelon, Israel; Gordon L. Flett, Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada; Paul L. Hewitt, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, D.T. Kenny Building, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z4.

  • Paul L. Hewitt

    1. University of British Columbia
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  • *Authorship between the first two authors is equal. A previous version of this article was presented in August 2003 at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Ontario. Gordon Flett is supported by a Canada Research Chair in Personality and Health. We would like to acknowledge Liron Ben-Shushan of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Eilat Campus, Israel, for her invaluable assistance in data collection.

  • We thank Daniel W. Russell, and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions.

concerning this article should be addressed to Avi Besser, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Sapir Academic College, D. N. Hof Ashkelon, 79165, Israel. Tel: (+972)-8-6802869. Fax: (+972)-8-6610783. E-mail: besser@mail.sapir.ac.il.

Abstract

Abstract The present study examined the associations among perfectionism, defense styles, and depression in an Israeli community sample of young adults. This study involved a comparison of self-reports and informant ratings on all measures. A community sample of 210 pairs of same-sex best friends from Israel completed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, the Defense Styles Questionnaire – 40, and a depression measure. Analyses confirmed that socially prescribed perfectionism is associated with depression, not only in terms of self-reports but also in terms of informant ratings. In addition, informant ratings revealed a link between other-oriented perfectionism and depression. Both self-reports and informant ratings also indicated that socially prescribed perfectionism is associated with immature defense styles and neurotic defense styles. Further simultaneous Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analyses of self-reports and informant ratings showed that maladaptive defense styles mediate the link between socially prescribed perfectionism and depression. The practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

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