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Journal of Clinical Psychology


John Wiley & Sons, Inc

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Objectives: Perfectionism is generally associated with worse mental health outcomes, though evidence suggests elements of it might be helpful. In light of these findings, we examined whether psychological skills like psychological flexibility and self-compassion moderated the relationship between perfectionism and wellbeing (i.e., quality of life, symptom impairment, and psychological distress).

Methods: Undergraduate students (N= 677) completed self-report measures.

Results: A latent profile analysis identified three perfectionism groups (low, average, high) based on four perfectionism subscales: concern over mistakes, need for approval, rumination, and striving for excellence. Generally, we found that psychological flexibility and/or self-compassion buffered the impact of average and high perfectionism on quality of life and symptom impairment.

Conclusion: Our results support the utility of practicing psychological flexibility and/or self-compassion for people with average and high levels of perfectionism. Limitations include using a cross-sectional design and non-clinical sample.


This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Ong, C. W., Lee, E. B., Petersen, J. M., Levin, M. E., & Twohig, M. P. (in press). Is perfectionism always unhealthy? Examining the moderating effects of psychological flexibility and self-compassion. Journal of Clinical Psychology, which has been published in final form at the Journal of Clinical Psychology. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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