The Effect of Adaptive Perfectionism, Maladaptive Perfectionism, and Feedback on Procrastination Behaviour
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The goal of the current research was to improve on previous studies by more directly examining the relationship between perfectionism and actual procrastination behaviour. In Study 1, participants (N = 167) were given five minutes to prepare for a verbal analogy test during which time they could complete practice materials or play a computer game. After the first test, participants were randomly assigned to receive positive feedback, negative feedback, or no feedback. They then had a second chance to study or play the computer game before they completed another verbal analogy test. Adaptive perfectionism was a significant predictor of less procrastination behaviour on the initial test although feedback on the first test did not change the subsequent behaviour of adaptive perfectionists. Maladaptive perfectionism was not a significant predictor of procrastination behaviour on the initial task. However, for women who were higher in maladaptive perfectionism, the more upset they were from receiving negative feedback on the first task, the more they increased their procrastination on the second task. The purpose of Study 2 was to examine two potential mechanisms, low performance expectations or mood repair, which may have been responsible for the increase in procrastination behaviour seen in women who were higher in maladaptive perfectionism and upset about receiving negative feedback. Participants (N = 138) all received negative feedback on the first test, which was followed by an optimism prime, positive mood prime, or neutral prime. Participants then were given a second chance to study or play the computer game before they completed another verbal analogy test. The positive mood prime did not have a significant effect on procrastination behaviour. Among women who were lower in adaptive perfectionism, the optimism prime resulted in a decrease in procrastination behaviour for women higher in maladaptive perfectionism and an increase in procrastination behaviour for women lower in maladaptive perfectionism. These findings are discussed in terms of their relevance for the academic outcomes of adaptive and maladaptive perfectionists.