Relation between childhood peer victimization and adult perfectionism: are victims of indirect aggression more perfectionistic?
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Using two independent samples and two different measures of perfectionism, this study investigated the hypothesized relation between retrospective accounts of perceived peer-inflicted emotional abuse during childhood and perfectionism in adulthood. Emotional victimization ('indirect' aggression) is characterized by behavior in which mental harm is inflicted on victims through exclusionary acts, gossiping, and rumor spreading. Study one: Self-reported questionnaires of indirect victimization [DIAS; Bjorkqvist, Lagerspetz, and Osterman, 1992] and perfectionism [multidimensional perfectionism scale; Hewitt and Flett, 1991] were administered to 162 (mean age=20.14 years) female undergraduate psychology students. Results support the predicted positive relationship between recalled indirect peer victimization and current socially prescribed/self-oriented perfectionism. Study two: self-reports of indirect peer victimization and perfectionism (eating disorder inventory-perfectionism) were collected from 196 (mean age=19.5 years) female undergraduate students. Again, recalled indirect peer victimization was a statistically significant predictor of current socially prescribed/self-oriented perfectionism whereas recalled direct (physical, verbal) peer victimization held no relation. Discussion addresses the implications of these results, which hold importance for both the bullying and perfectionism literatures.
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