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Is intelligence related to perfectionism? Multidimensional perfectionism and parental antecedents among adolescents across varying levels of cognitive ability

  • Lavrijsen, Jeroen
  • Soenens, Bart
  • Vansteenkiste, Maarten
  • Verschueren, Karine
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1111/jopy.12606
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Objective Although intellectually gifted individuals are often portrayed as perfectionists, evidence for an association between cognitive ability and perfectionism is inconclusive. This study investigates the relations between cognitive ability and two distinct dimensions of perfectionism and addresses the role of parental antecedents of perfectionism in adolescents at different levels of cognitive ability. Method In a community sample of 3,168 adolescents and their parents, cognitive ability was assessed and perfectionism levels and parenting practices were surveyed. Results Adolescents higher in cognitive ability reported higher levels of Personal Standards (i.e., setting ambitious objectives) but lower levels of Concern over Mistakes (i.e., worrying excessively about mistakes). Parental criticism, high parental expectations, and conditionally regarding parenting were associated positively with Concern over Mistakes, and high parental expectations were related positively to Personal Standards. These associations were generally independent of adolescents' cognitive ability. Parents of adolescents higher in cognitive ability relied less on parenting practices associated with the development of perfectionism. Conclusion Cognitive ability is related to a higher pursuit of personal standards, yet does not constitute a risk factor for excessive concerns about mistakes. Parental antecedents were related similarly and in theoretically meaningful ways to adolescent perfectionism across different levels of cognitive ability.

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