Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Psychology


A wide variety of psychological disorders are hypothesised as having their basis in perfectionism (Hill, Zrull, & Turlington, 1997). Yet, the amount of research and literature on perfectionism is meagre, and is predominantly biased towards the psychopathological (Rice, Ashby, & Slaney, 1998). To an extent, the lack of research and bias, is redressed by this body of work. The four objectives to this thesis

i) to validate Frost, Marten, Lahart, and Rosenblate's (1990) Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (FMPS) on an broader sample than what it was developed;

ii) to present a more balanced view of perfectionism by developing the positive aspects of perfectionism;

iii) to establish if perfectionism is intermeshed and buttressed by locus of control (Multidimensional Locus of control; Levenson, 1973) and coping style (Miller Behavioral Style Scale; Miller, 1980);

iv) to investigate the socialisation explanation of the propagation of precisian tendencies. Participants were drawn from students, and their immediate families, of the University Wollongong.

FMPS was partially replicated, with the required modifications indicated by the name changes (viz., FMPS -» FMPSn -» FMPS(R)). In developing the FMPS(R), two new dimensions and four new categorisations of perfectionism (to the FMPS(R)) were derived. Significant relationships occurred between perfectionism (dimensions and categories) with locus of control and coping style. These results support the contention that perfectionism is intertwined with other personality styles.

Familial socialisation effects and the propagation of perfectionism were assessed using 247 two-parent family units (father-mother-child). The modelling and role modelling explanations were supported, but not the same-gender role modelling explanation. These results indicated that a construct other than gender should be used, and so the gender-role attribute perspective was utilised. Significant differences occurred between gender-role attribute classifications on both the dimensional scores, and their expected and observed frequencies for the categories of perfectionism.

Overall, concluded from these results were that:

i) a high level of association between perfectionism with locus of control, and coping style;

ii) familial socialisation practices perpetuate perfectionistic tendencies

iii) a high level of association between the gender-role attribute designations with the dimensions of perfectionism.