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Perfectionism and the experience of pride, shame, and guilt: Comparing healthy perfectionists, unhealthy perfectionists, and non-perfectionists

By Joachim Stoeber, Rachel A. Harris and Paul S. Moon


According to traditional views, perfectionists are prone to experience shame and guilt and unable to experience pride. Hamachek (1978), however, suggested that this applies only to neurotic perfectionists, whereas normal perfectionists are able to experience pride and are not prone to experience shame and guilt. Following Hamachek's differentiation, the present study investigated 121 undergraduates and compared healthy perfectionists (high perfectionistic strivings, low perfectionistic concerns), unhealthy perfectionists (high perfectionistic strivings, high perfectionistic concerns), and non-perfectionists (low perfectionistic strivings) regarding proneness to shame, guilt, and pride and state shame, guilt, and pride following success and failure. As expected, healthy perfectionists reported more state pride and less state shame and guilt than unhealthy perfectionists and non-perfectionists. Moreover, healthy perfectionists indicated lower proneness to shame than unhealthy perfectionists and non-perfectionists. However, both healthy and unhealthy perfectionists indicated higher proneness to pride and higher proneness to guilt than non-perfectionists. Supporting views of perfectionism that differentiate between positive and negative forms of the construct, the present findings show that individuals, who strive for perfection, but are unconcerned about imperfections, may well experience pride and be prone to feel guilt, but not shame

Topics: BF
Publisher: Elsevier Science B. V. Amsterdam
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

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