Perfectionism serves as a mediator in the relationship between difficult life experiences and psychological distress, but to date no research has examined the effect of recalled peer victimisation on perfectionism and adult depressive symptomatology (DS). The present study assessed the Social Reaction Model of Perfectionism (SRMP; Flett, et al., 2002b), which proposes that perfectionism (self-oriented, other-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism) results from harsh experiences. This may include experiences of peer victimisation (physical, verbal and indirect). The model was extended to also include adult DS and rumination (brooding and reflection). Self-report questionnaires measuring recalled childhood experiences of peer victimisation (Owens, Daly & Slee, 2005), current trait perfectionism (Hewitt & Flett, 1991), rumination (Nolen-Hoeksema & Morrow, 1991) and DS (Radloff, 1977) were completed by 338 adult participants (54% female). Path-analyses revealed recalled indirect victimisation to be associated with adults’ self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism. However, only socially prescribed perfectionism mediated the relation between recalled indirect victimisation and adult DS. Brooding rumination also mediated the effect of socially prescribed perfectionism upon DS. The findings support the SRMP, and extend the theory to include the effects of perfectionism on rumination and DS.
- peer victimisation
- depressive symptomatology