Exploring Domain-Specific Perfectionism


  • The author thanks Dr. Sheila Gilheany, Fionnuala Britton, and Jennifer Fagan for their support and assistance.

concerning this article should be addressed to Siobhain McArdle, School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, Collins Ave., Dublin 9, Ireland. E-mail: siobhain.mcardle@dcu.ie.


ABSTRACT The main objective of this research was to explore the extent to which perfectionism is a general personality trait across areas of functioning rather than a context-specific trait. The study also explored the degree to which domain-specific contingent self-worth, perceived competence, and task value were associated with domain-specific perfectionism. In a sample of 187 academically talented youth, a comparison of perfectionistic tendencies and cognitive appraisal processes in the school versus sports domain revealed significantly higher levels of perfectionism, perceptions of competence, task value, and contingent self-worth in the school domain. Hierarchical regression analysis showed a significant main effect for contingencies of self-worth on perfectionistic tendencies in both the school and sports domains. The results argue for the centrality of contingent self-worth to the understanding of perfectionism.