Perfectionism dimensions in pregnancy-a study in Portuguese women

António Macedo, Sandra Carvalho Bos, Mariana Marques, Berta Maia, Maria João Soares, Telma Pereira, Ana Allen Gomes, José Valente, Maria Helena Azevedo

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Pregnancy is essentially a physiological event, but neuroendocrinal and psychosocial changes are also important components of this experience. In this context, perceived stress may be enhanced by the activation of certain personality traits, like perfectionism, which in turn may be associated with more psychological distress (PD). The aim of this study was to investigate if perfectionism could be associated with more negative emotional outcomes (PD) in the transition to motherhood and to look at which of the perfectionism dimensions these consequences are specifically linked. The sample comprises 421 pregnant women (mean∈=∈29.8, SD∈=∈4.48 years) who completed measures of perfectionism and mood symptoms. A two-factor model with self-oriented perfectionism (SOP) and socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP) dimensions and a three-factor model with SOP, SPP-others' high standards and SPP-conditional acceptance (CA) factors were explored. Correlations and linear regressions were calculated between perfectionism factors and mood variables. Results showed that higher levels of SPP factors were associated with increased anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue and confusion, with decreased vigour and with more severe depressive symptoms. Our results, in contrast with those from the study of Campbell and DiPaula (2002, In: Flett G, Hewitt P (eds) Perfectionism. Theory, research, and practice. American Psychological Association, Washington, pp 181-198), did not confirm a preferential association between SPP-CA and PD, revealing that both components of SPP were associated with PD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Conditional acceptance
  • Others' high standards
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychological distress
  • Self-oriented perfectionism
  • Socially prescribed perfectionism


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