Title

Exploring relationships between perfectionism, social anxiety, and post-event rumination

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Major

Psychology

Minor

Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Patrick Cushen, PhD

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Disruptive cognitive biases are often problems for people with anxiety-related disorders. For those individuals with social anxiety, one common bias is negative post-event rumination. This bias involves people with social anxiety remembering and distorting past experiences by focusing on negative details and perceptions. This bias may also be key to maintaining social anxiety as it feeds into the cycle of distress associated with social experiences. Another factor that may relate to a person’s likelihood of demonstrating this bias is their level of perfectionism. Two aspects of perfectionism may be related to post-event rumination: socially prescribed perfectionism (thinking that others expect perfection from you) and perfectionistic self-presentation (expecting perfection from one’s self). The goal of the current study is to investigate the relationships between different aspects of perfectionism, social anxiety, and post-event rumination. The study asked participants to remember a specific event that led to feelings of anxiety or discomfort. They then completed self-report questionnaires about multiple variables including post-event rumination, social anxiety, social phobia, and multiple dimensions of perfectionism. Results of the study replicated previous findings on the relationship between social anxiety and negative post-event rumination, but did not find any significant correlations between any aspect of perfectionism and the other variables. These findings indicate a need to further distinguish between adaptive vs. maladaptive perfectionism to clarify whether past studies that found perfectionism as a stronger predictor of post-event rumination than social anxiety displayed just maladaptive characteristics or if the relationship is more complex.

Key terms: Perfectionism, social anxiety, post-event rumination, cognitive bias

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Psychology: Completed Projects

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Exploring relationships between perfectionism, social anxiety, and post-event rumination

Disruptive cognitive biases are often problems for people with anxiety-related disorders. For those individuals with social anxiety, one common bias is negative post-event rumination. This bias involves people with social anxiety remembering and distorting past experiences by focusing on negative details and perceptions. This bias may also be key to maintaining social anxiety as it feeds into the cycle of distress associated with social experiences. Another factor that may relate to a person’s likelihood of demonstrating this bias is their level of perfectionism. Two aspects of perfectionism may be related to post-event rumination: socially prescribed perfectionism (thinking that others expect perfection from you) and perfectionistic self-presentation (expecting perfection from one’s self). The goal of the current study is to investigate the relationships between different aspects of perfectionism, social anxiety, and post-event rumination. The study asked participants to remember a specific event that led to feelings of anxiety or discomfort. They then completed self-report questionnaires about multiple variables including post-event rumination, social anxiety, social phobia, and multiple dimensions of perfectionism. Results of the study replicated previous findings on the relationship between social anxiety and negative post-event rumination, but did not find any significant correlations between any aspect of perfectionism and the other variables. These findings indicate a need to further distinguish between adaptive vs. maladaptive perfectionism to clarify whether past studies that found perfectionism as a stronger predictor of post-event rumination than social anxiety displayed just maladaptive characteristics or if the relationship is more complex.

Key terms: Perfectionism, social anxiety, post-event rumination, cognitive bias