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University students experience significantly high levels of psychological distress. Maladaptive perfectionism has been identified as a common trait among students that leads to diagnosed conditions such as depression and anxiety. Resilience and trait emotional intelligence have also been identified as common predictors of psychological illness and mediators between related maladaptive perfectionism. However, no current research has investigated maladaptive perfectionism’s relationship with a more general psychological distress experienced by university students. Therefore, the current study aimed to investigate maladaptive perfectionism, resilience and trait emotional intelligence association with psychological distress in 171 university students (29 males; 138 females; Mage = 28.48 years; SD = 11.58). Results identified maladaptive perfectionism to significantly, positively correlate with psychological distress in university students. The combination of increased maladaptive perfectionism, low resilience and low trait emotional intelligence significantly predicted psychological distress. Additionally, resilience and trait emotional intelligence significantly added to the prediction of psychological distress, above and beyond maladaptive perfectionism. Finally, resilience and trait emotional intelligence both partially mediated the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and psychological distress in university students. Findings suggest resilience and trait emotional intelligence to be important factors in predicting general psychological distress in student maladaptive perfectionists. The current study provided additional supporting evidence for the importance of resilience and trait emotional intelligence in intervention and prevention strategies for psychological distress in maladaptive perfectionist students.
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