THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PERFECTIONISM AND ANXIETY IN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Introduction: Perfectionism is a relatively stable personality trait which refers to setting high personal standards and the pursuit of perfection. Anxiety as personality trait represents propensity to observe objectively harmless situations as endangering and to react signifficantly more intensive than the particular situation requires. Earlier results have shown positive correlation between exam anxiety and negative perfectionism (fear of failure). Also, some gender differences where found regarding perfectionism and anxiety, showing girls as more anxious and more perfectionists than boys. Aim: The aim of this research was to examine if there is any correlation between perfectionism and anxiety, what is it's level and direction. Also, we wanted to examine if there are any gender differences regarding these two personality traits. Method: Systematic non-experimental research. The study involved 202 students of Belgrade University, 158 girls (78%) and 44 boys (22%). Perfectionism level was measured with Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, by Frost et al., while anxiety was measured with Enler Multidimensional Anxiety Scale - Trait. Statistical analysis included Pearson correlation and t-test of independent samples.
Results: The results show moderate positive correlation between anxiety and perfectionism (r = 0.29, p= 0.01), and slightly higher positive correlation between anxiety and negative aspects of perfectionism (r =0.40, p = 0.01). There is a gender difference shown in anxiety level between female and male students, i.e. Girls have shown significantly higher anxiety level than boys (t = 3.39, p < 0.01, n= 0.05). Regarding perfectionism, only significant gender difference was on the subdimension doubt about the action (t = 2.11, p =0.04, n= 0.02), showing girls as more likely to express this trait than boys.
Conclusion: Based on this research we conclude that more anxious persons are more of perfectionists (especially negative perfectionists) than those who are less anxious. Also, our results describe female students as generally more anxious than male students.
Keywords: perfectionism, anxiety, gender differences, connection.
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