They made you perfect: a test of the social reaction model of perfectionism

Claire Wilson, Simon C. Hunter, Susan Rasmussen, Allison McGowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Perfectionism serves as a mediator in the relationship between difficult life experiences and psychological distress, but to date no research has examined the effect of recalled peer victimization on perfectionism and adult depressive symptomatology (DS). The present study assessed the Social Reaction Model of Perfectionism (SRMP; Flett, Hewitt, Oliver, & Macdonald (2002b). Perfectionism in children and their parents: A developmental analysis. In G. L. Flett and P. L. Hewitt (Eds.), Perfectionism: Theory, research, and treatment (pp. 89-132). Washington: American Psychological Association), which proposes that perfectionism (self-oriented, other-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism) results from harsh experiences. This may include experiences of peer victimization (physical, verbal and indirect). The model was extended to also include adult DS and rumination (brooding and reflection). Self-report questionnaires measuring recalled childhood experiences of peer victimization (Owens, Daly, & Slee (2005). Aggressive Behavior, 31, 1-12. doi: 10.1002/ab.20045), current trait perfectionism (Hewitt & Flett (1991). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 456-470., rumination (Nolen-Hoeksema & Morrow (1991). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 115-121. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.61.1.115) and DS (Radloff (1977). Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 386-401. were completed by 338 adult participants (54% female). Path-analyses revealed recalled indirect victimization to be associated with adults' self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism. However, only socially prescribed perfectionism mediated the relation between recalled indirect victimization and adult DS. Brooding rumination also mediated the effect of socially prescribed perfectionism upon DS. The findings support the SRMP, and extend the theory to include the effects of perfectionism on rumination and DS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-431
Number of pages11
JournalAggressive Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • peer victimisation
  • bullying
  • depressive symptomatology
  • perfectionism
  • rumination


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