The Role of Daily Interpersonal Difficulties in the Relationship between Perfectionistic Concerns and Change in Anhedonic Depressivity

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Manuel, Stephanie
Perfectionism , Social Difficulties , Depressive Symptoms , Emerging Adulthood
Perfectionistic concerns are an individual difference factor that play an important role in predicting depressive symptoms among emerging adults. However, comparatively less is known about how and why perfectionistic concerns engender depressive symptoms among emerging adult populations. The Perfectionism Social Disconnection Model (PSDM) posits that high levels of perfectionistic concerns lead to social difficulties that consequently give rise to depressive symptoms (Sherry et al., 2016). Thus, the aim of the current study is to empirically test the PSDM and investigate daily interpersonal experiences that explain the relationship between perfectionistic concerns and change in depressive symptoms. Indicators of daily social disconnection (including daily loneliness) and daily social connection (including daily social positivity and closeness and daily emotional closeness behaviours) that may uniquely mediate the relationship between perfectionistic concerns and change in one-month anhedonic depressivity were tested. The role of trait worry in my hypothesized model was also tested. Lastly, the role of instability of interpersonal experiences in the PSDM was investigated. The current study included 133 first-year post-secondary students who completed a one-month mixed longitudinal and daily-diary study protocol. Results found that daily loneliness and daily social positivity and closeness uniquely mediated the relationship between perfectionistic concerns and change in one-month anhedonic depressivity, above and beyond other daily interpersonal difficulties and trait worry. Contrary to hypotheses, perfectionistic concerns did not predict greater instability in interpersonal experiences, and instability in interpersonal experiences did not predict change in one-month anhedonic depressivity. Overall, results underscore the critical need for future work to investigate prevention and intervention strategies that may help increase feelings of social connection and decrease feelings of social disconnection among emerging adults with high levels of perfectionistic concerns.
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