Eastern Kentucky University

Poster Title

The Gold Standard: Understanding the Impact of Perfectionism on Occupation

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

Abstract

Occupational Science seeks to understand human occupation, often grouping occupations into categories and considering external factors that influence what people do. The current literature in psychology includes several studies on perfectionism, but there are no studies within occupational science literature that directly relate to perfectionism. Some research suggests a link between workaholism and perfectionist qualities. Other research contends that workaholism and the overemphasis on work and productivity may cause a life imbalance resulting in potential negative social and health related consequences. The purpose of this mixed methods study is to gain an understanding of how perfectionism impacts the occupations of college students studying occupational science and to describe the participant’s experiences of being a perfectionist. Another objective was to examine how perfectionism positively or negatively influenced the occupations and well-being of students. In order to answer the main research question and associated questions, original research was conducted using a mixed methods approach. The Almost Perfect Scale, Revised (APS-R), developed by Stanley, et al. (1996) was administered to a class of Occupational Science (OS) students. The results of this assessment were used to categorize students as perfectionist or non-perfectionist. A smaller sample of students in both groups were selected and time logs of their occupations were compared and analyzed. For the qualitative portion, a follow- up survey with the subgroup of the perfectionists was conducted to help answer how being a perfectionist both supported and inhibited occupation. Using a mixed methods approach, the intent was to determine if a relationship between perfectionism and human occupation existed and provide a measurable and meaningful depiction of the interaction between these variables. The implications of this research would be used to better support the health and occupations of college students and mollify or prevent negative health effects of perfectionism.

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The Gold Standard: Understanding the Impact of Perfectionism on Occupation

Occupational Science seeks to understand human occupation, often grouping occupations into categories and considering external factors that influence what people do. The current literature in psychology includes several studies on perfectionism, but there are no studies within occupational science literature that directly relate to perfectionism. Some research suggests a link between workaholism and perfectionist qualities. Other research contends that workaholism and the overemphasis on work and productivity may cause a life imbalance resulting in potential negative social and health related consequences. The purpose of this mixed methods study is to gain an understanding of how perfectionism impacts the occupations of college students studying occupational science and to describe the participant’s experiences of being a perfectionist. Another objective was to examine how perfectionism positively or negatively influenced the occupations and well-being of students. In order to answer the main research question and associated questions, original research was conducted using a mixed methods approach. The Almost Perfect Scale, Revised (APS-R), developed by Stanley, et al. (1996) was administered to a class of Occupational Science (OS) students. The results of this assessment were used to categorize students as perfectionist or non-perfectionist. A smaller sample of students in both groups were selected and time logs of their occupations were compared and analyzed. For the qualitative portion, a follow- up survey with the subgroup of the perfectionists was conducted to help answer how being a perfectionist both supported and inhibited occupation. Using a mixed methods approach, the intent was to determine if a relationship between perfectionism and human occupation existed and provide a measurable and meaningful depiction of the interaction between these variables. The implications of this research would be used to better support the health and occupations of college students and mollify or prevent negative health effects of perfectionism.