Perfectionism and Its Relationship to Racial Identity, Satisfaction with Life, Stress and Coping
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The study of perfectionism has grown over the past few years with most of the interest focused on the relationship between perfectionism and psychological functioning. Although the literature on perfectionism has continued to increase, the study of the impact of cultural differences on perfectionism and psychological functioning has been understudied. This study examines the relationships between racial identity, perfectionism and satisfaction of life along with other factors that may mediate this relationship such as coping style and stress. A multicultural model of the stress process posited by Slavin, Rainer, et al. (1991) provides a basis for examining the importance of cultural influences on perfectionism. 122 African American women were recruited via university organization listservs and email lists and through direct contact with university professors to complete surveys on perfectionism, life satisfaction, stress and coping. Analysis of data indicated that individuals in the pre-encounter status of racial identity reported lower satisfaction with life. This finding is consistent with prior studies. Findings also included a significant positive relationship (p<.05) between internalization status of racial identity and socially prescribed perfectionism. Additionally emotion oriented coping was found to fully mediate the relationship between socially oriented perfectionism and satisfaction with life (Z=-1.9722, p<.05). These findings highlight the relevance of cultural factors when considering assessment and intervention strategies for African American women. Additionally the significant contribution of coping style to life satisfaction gives guidance in how to intervene with clients in a clinical setting. The findings suggest that reducing the reliance on emotion oriented coping strategies may be important in improving life satisfaction in African American women.
Heads, Angela (2009). Perfectionism and Its Relationship to Racial Identity, Satisfaction with Life, Stress and Coping. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from