Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (2.95 MB)

Reducing the consequences of perfectionism for university students: a feasibility study

Download (2.95 MB)
posted on 2024-02-12, 01:12 authored by Shanara Visvalingam

Perfectionism, which is characterised by the pursuit of high standards accompanied by critical evaluations of oneself and/or others, is linked to a variety of mental health conditions. Given that the presence of mental health conditions has increased in university students, helping them manage their perfectionism may help reduce their vulnerability to psychopathology. Seventy participants experiencing moderate to extreme levels of perfectionism participated in a 2-hour brief educational intervention, the ‘Intentional Imperfection Program’, which is based on the Perfectionism Social Disconnection Model. Participants completed measures related to the Perfectionism Social Disconnection Model (facets of perfectionism, rejection sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, maladaptive emotion regulation strategies, perceived and objective social support, social support seeking behaviour, and life satisfaction) before, and two weeks after, completing the brief intervention. Findings showed that the brief intervention was largely effective in reducing hostility (r = -0.53, p <.001), and moderately effective in reducing depression (r = -0.47, p <.001), anxiety (r = -0.33, p =.010), catastrophising (r = -0.41, p =.001), self-oriented perfectionism (r = 0.48, p <.001) and increasing satisfaction with life (d = 0.31, p =.001). In addition, the brief intervention was mildly effective in reducing rejection sensitivity (d = 0.37, p <.001), socially-prescribed perfectionism (d = 0.40, p <.001) and increasing perceived social support (r = -0.29, p =.023). We further found that the majority of participants practiced the strategies in the 2-week interval between baseline and follow-up; however, the degree of practice generally did not appear to relate to better outcomes at follow-up. The feedback survey also indicated that the program was generally well accepted by participants but also highlighted some areas for improvement to increase the acceptability of the program. Overall, these findings related to the efficacy and acceptability of the intervention suggest that it is feasible to run and thus a randomised controlled trial is warranted.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Method -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendices


Empirical thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research (Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences)

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis MRes, Macquarie University, Department of Psychology, 2020

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Melissa Norberg

Additional Supervisor 1

Natasha Magson


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




137 pages

Usage metrics

    Macquarie University Theses


    Ref. manager