Longitudinal Links Between Perfectionism and Depression in Children
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The temporal relation between two types of perfectionism - self-oriented perfectionism (SOP) and socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP) - and depressive symptoms was examined in a sample of 653 children (286 girls, 367 boys) across Grades 6 (depressive symptoms only), 7, and 8. A vulnerability model, in which perfectionism affects depressive symptoms, was compared to a scar model, in which depressive symptoms affects perfectionism, and to a reciprocal-causality model, in which both constructs concurrently affect each other across time. Cross-lagged paths analyses using structural equation modeling supported a scar model where increases in depressive symptoms lead to increases in SPP, but not SOP. The findings applied to both boys and girls. Results suggest that in childhood, depressive symptoms increase the perception that others are expecting excessively high standards of oneself and the need to satisfy this perception.
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