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Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2006;10(4):295-319.

Positive conceptions of perfectionism: approaches, evidence, challenges.

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Department of Psychology, University of Kent, UK.


Almost 30 years ago, Hamachek (1978) suggested that 2 forms of perfectionism be distinguished, a positive form labeled "normal perfectionism" and a negative form labeled "neurotic perfectionism." Focusing on the positive, we present an overview of the different empirical conceptions of the 2 forms of perfectionism and a common framework for the 2 basic approaches: the dimensional approach differentiating 2 dimensions of perfectionism (perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns) and the group-based approach differentiating 2 groups of perfectionists (healthy perfectionists and unhealthy perfectionists). Moreover, we review the evidence demonstrating that (a) perfectionistic strivings are associated with positive characteristics and (b) healthy perfectionists show higher levels of positive characteristics compared to unhealthy perfectionists and nonperfectionists. Although questions on core facets, positive effects, and developmental antecedents of positive forms of perfectionism remain, our findings suggest that self-oriented perfectionistic strivings are positive, if perfectionists are not overly concerned about mistakes and negative evaluations by others.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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