Perfectionism is a multidimensional personal phenomenon, which consists of striving for excellence, high standards for oneself and others, desire to meet expectations of the social environment to receive approval and recognition. This phenomenon can take two forms - constructive (promotes personality self-realization) and destructive (negatively affects at a person’s activities and emotional well-being). Therefore, the question of perfectionists’ specific cope strategies, as well as the study of their links with the positive or negative aspects of perfectionism is really important.
In order to empirically study the psychological specifics of cope strategies for different types of adolescents-perfectionists, the following psychodiagnostic methods were selected: Coping Strategies Questionnaires by J. Amirkhan; Hewitt’ and Flett’ Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale for children and adolescents; MUN proposed by A. Rean; Beck Depression Inventory (adolescent version) and Multidimensional Anxiety Scale proposed by K. Malkova. These methods allowed us to develop a typology of adolescents-perfectionists and to explore the features of dominant cope strategies for each type.
96 adolescents aged of 12-18 years with different degrees of perfectionism participated in the study. At the first stage of the study, four types of adolescents were identified by cluster analysis: 1) successful anxiety-depressive perfectionist; 2) successful constructive perfectionist; 3) unsuccessful anxiety-depressive perfectionist; 4) a moderately successful constructive non-perfectionist. The typology was based on the following criteria: emotional (emotional well-being - Beck Depression Inventory and K. Malkova’ Multidimensional Anxiety Scale), motivational (striving for success or avoiding failure - A. Rean’ questionnaire), cognitive (perfectionist`s attitudes - Perfectionism Scale for children and adolescents) and activity (educational achievements).
At the second stage of the study, a comparative analysis of cope strategies for certain types of adolescents-perfectionists was conducted. 3 groups of cope strategies, proposed by D. Amirkhan, were studied: problem solving (an active behavioural strategy aimed for using internal resources to find possible ways to solve a problem); seeking social support (seeking support in the social environment to solve a problem); avoidance (behavioural strategy aimed at avoidance of contacts with environment, escaping from problem solving).
According to the research, the problem-solving strategy is dominant for the successful constructive type of perfectionists, and the «avoidance» strategy is the least represented. Adolescents with the successful anxiety-depressive type of perfectionism tend to choose a «seeking social support» strategy, but they are able to choose problem-solving behaviour. The unsuccessful anxious-depressive type of adolescents-perfectionists chooses the «avoidance» and «seeking social support» strategies to solve problems. For moderately successful constructive non-perfectionists, the cope strategies of «problem solving» and «seeking social support» are equally represented; the avoidance strategy is at a low level.
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