Title

Adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism in a sample of 34 unemployed people: potential implications for further study, and for policy and equity

Date of this Version

December 2006

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Seib, Belinda and Hicks, Richard (2006) Adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism in a sample of 34 unemployed people: potential implications for further study, and for policy and equity is a conference paper presented at The Constraints to Full Employment or WorkChoices and Welfare-to-Work Conference 2006 incorporating the 8th Path to Full Employment Conference and the 13th National Conference on Unemployment, 7-8 December 2006, The University of Newcastle.
To obtain a copy of this presentation contact the Centre of Full Employment & Equity, The University of Newcastle

2006 HERDC submission

Abstract

No current research exists on the impact of the attitudes of perfectionism on the unemployed, though earlier research exists from studies of the employed and of university students. The current study examined, for 34 unemployed individuals in the Personal Support Programme, the relationship between perfectionism and self-esteem, general well-being, and life satisfaction. The project is on-going. This project used the Multi-dimensional Perfectionism Scale, the General Health Questionnaire, a depression questionnaire and a general questionnaire on the satisfaction of the unemployed individuals and their willingness to seek employment. The findings emphasised that maladaptive perfectionism may play a role in the psychological distress of the unemployed, though further study to unravel the effects of unemployment itself from the impacts of developed attitudes of maladaptive perfectionism is needed. Identification of the possible role of pre-existing maladaptive perfectionism in the experience of psychological distress may have implications for mandatory employment programs (e.g., Work for the Dole) and for the suspension of the unemployment benefits when such activities are breached. Paradoxically, these breaches could, for maladaptive perfectionists, decrease the behavioural pursuit of employment and increase psychological distress rather than motivate job search activity.

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This document has been peer reviewed.