Objectives. To examine levels of perfectionism in social phobics and to explore the consequences of perfectionism for such individuals.
Design. A between‐groups laboratory design was used to provide a level of comparison between phobic and non‐phobic individuals in a controlled setting.
Method. Participants for the phobic group (N = 28) were recruited from waiting lists for treatment programmes, and matched controls (N = 29) were recruited from community advertisements. Volunteers for the study completed measures of perfectionism (Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale) and then completed a laboratory session in which they were asked to rate others' social standards for them and their own social ability.
Results. Social phobic individuals scored higher on socially prescribed perfectionism. Perfectionistic traits were associated with higher standards in social phobics, but not in controls. Finally, social phobia was associated with lowered perceptions of social ability.
Conclusions. Although social phobia and socially prescribed perfectionism were intertwined, the two conditions appeared to contribute to negative self‐appraisal through different processes. Social phobics who are perfectionistic are likely not only to have low levels of efficacy, but also to feel that others will have high expectations for them in social situations.