Going it alone: examining interpersonal sensitivity and hostility as mediators of the link between perfectionism and social disconnection

Shanara Visvalingam, Natasha R. Magson, Amie R. Newins, Melissa M. Norberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Perfectionism is linked to a variety of mental health conditions in university students. The Perfectionism Social Disconnection Model posits that perfectionistic individuals exhibit off-putting interpersonal behaviors (i.e., rejection sensitivity and hostility), which lead to social disconnection, and in turn contribute to psychological distress. Although several longitudinal studies have found that social disconnection mediates the link between perfectionistic traits and psychological distress, less is known about how perfectionism leads to social disconnection. The present study aimed to address this gap. Methods: A sample of 877 university students completed one survey a month for three consecutive months. Results: Our random-intercept cross-lagged panel model results showed significant positive associations between the random intercepts of socially prescribed and self-oriented perfectionism with rejection sensitivity, hostility, and loneliness, with stronger associations for socially prescribed perfectionism. In addition, the random intercept of other-oriented perfectionism showed positive associations with hostility but not rejection sensitivity or loneliness. Moreover, almost all cross-lagged paths were nonsignificant. Conclusion: Collectively, these findings indicate that although perfectionistic traits may be associated with rejection sensitivity and hostility to varying degrees at the between-person level, these behaviors may not cause social disconnection at the within-person level.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • interpersonal hostility
  • loneliness
  • perfectionism
  • perfectionism social disconnection model
  • rejection sensitivity

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