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Perfectionism, anxiety, and depression: Are the relationships independent?

by Kathleen Y. Kawamura, Sandra L. Hunt, Randy O. Frost, Patricia Marten DiBartolo
Cognitive Therapy and Research ()


The present study examined the relationship between perfectionism and various features of anxiety to determine whether these features of anxiety were related to perfectionism independent of depression. A factor analysis of various measures of anxiety symptoms reduced the measures to three factors: obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety/trait anxiety/worry, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. All three factors were significantly related to maladaptive perfectionism, but the social/trait/worry factor was the only factor found to be related to maladaptive perfectionism independent of depression. The PTSD factor was the only factor related to the adaptive component of perfectionism, and this relationship remained significant even after controlling for depression. Perfectionism was related to depression after controlling for the three anxiety factors; maladaptive perfectionism was positively related to depression and adaptive perfectionism was negatively related to depression. These findings indicate that there appears to be an aspect of perfectionism that is related to anxiety independent of depression and a separate aspect of perfectionism that is related to depression independent of anxiety.

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