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PsychologyOur news, events & seminars

Perfectionism: A Double-edged Sword Seminar

15:00 - 16:00
5 October 2016
University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, Building 44 (Shackleton), Room 3095

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Sue McNally on 02380 595150 or email .

Event details

Perfectionism is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, perfectionism motivates people to give their best. On the other, perfectionism makes people despair and doubt themselves. Moreover, perfectionism is associated with various psychological problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. Perfectionism, however, is a complex characteristic. There are various forms of perfectionism, and some are more harmful than others. In particular, it is important to differentiate perfectionistic strivings (striving for perfection) from perfectionistic concerns (concern over mistakes). The talk will present findings from my research on personality and individual differences demonstrating that only perfectionistic concerns are always maladaptive. In contrast, perfectionistic strivings—while putting people under pressure—contain aspects that can be adaptive. In addition, I will talk about new research on other-oriented perfectionism (a form of perfectionism where people expect others to be perfect).

Speaker information

Professor Joachim Stoeber, University of Kent. With a background in research on personality and individual differences, my current research interests focus on perfectionism. In particular, I am interested in the differentiation of positive and negative aspects of perfectionism and how they relate to motivation and emotion, psychosocial wellbeing and performance at school, at work and in sport and exercise. As striving for perfection can be quite stressful, I am interested in how some perfectionists cope with the fact that life is seldom perfect (and neither are they) so that they can enjoy their strivings and maintain a high satisfaction with life despite these imperfections—while other perfectionists despair. Further interests include how perfectionism relates to goal setting, stress in the workplace, and health behaviours and how different parental rearing styles may influence the development of healthy and unhealthy forms of perfectionism.

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