Positive conceptions of perfectionism (Stoeber & Otto, 2006) suggest that striving for perfection is associated with positive characteristics and adaptive outcomes. To investigate whether this also holds for adolescent school students, a sample of 121 ninth-graders completed measures of perfectionism at school (striving for perfection, negative reactions to imperfection), perceived parental pressure to be perfect, motivation, school achievement, and well-being. Results showed that negative reactions to imperfection were related to fear of failure, somatic complaints, and depressive symptoms; and perceived parental pressure was related to somatic complaints. In contrast, striving for perfection was related to hope of success, motivation for school, and school achievement. Moreover, striving for perfection showed a negative correlation with depressive symptoms, once the influence of negative reactions to imperfection was partialled out. The findings show that striving for perfection in adolescent school students is associated with positive characteristics and adaptive outcomes and thus may form part of a healthy pursuit of excellence. Negative reactions to imperfection and perceived parental pressure to be perfect, however, are associated with negative characteristics and maladaptive outcomes and thus may undermine adolescents' motivation and well-being
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