Date of Award

6-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Eric M. Sauer

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Z. Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy E. Naugle

Abstract

Previous research has supported a link between maladaptive perfectionism and higher levels of depression symptoms. However, researchers have not yet investigated the ways in which emotion regulation processes may mediate this relationship. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to evaluate emotional disclosure, emotional avoidance, and rumination as mediators of the relation between maladaptive perfectionism and depression symptoms. Additionally, this study also investigated the role that insecure attachment orientations play in the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and use of particular emotion regulation strategies. Further, the role of shame in the emotion regulation processes of individuals with higher levels of maladaptive perfectionism was also explored in this study. In order to examine these relationships, 745 college students completed measures of maladaptive perfectionism, emotional suppression, rumination, distress disclosure, depression symptoms, adult attachment, and shame. Participants for this study were recruited via in-class announcements, and then completed all study measures through an online questionnaire.

Results of the study supported several of the proposed relationships among variables. To begin, higher levels of maladaptive perfectionism were predictive of higher levels of depression through the mediating variable of higher levels of rumination. In addition, higher levels of maladaptive perfectionism were also predictive of lower levels of emotional disclosure through the mediating variable of higher levels of emotional avoidance. Further, lower levels of emotional disclosure were then related to higher levels of depression symptoms. Although the proposed moderating role of adult attachment in the relation between maladaptive perfectionism and emotion regulation strategies was not supported, expected relationships between insecure attachment and maladaptive perfectionism were found. Study results also offered tentative support for the mediating role of shame in the relation between maladaptive perfectionism and rumination. The author places these results in the context of past literature and research, discusses potential implications of these findings for counseling psychology research and practice, and offers directions for future research.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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