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Title: Exploring the effects of priming values on perfectionism, considering value discrepancy and distress
Author: Fermandel, Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 8091
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2015
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Introduction: Since the start of the 20th Century, the conceptualisation of values has been evolving, with values being suggested to be amongst our most important evaluative beliefs (Allport, et al., 1951; Rokeach, 1973; Spranger, 1928). Whilst values have received a lot of research attention within the social psychology arena, in comparison there appears to be a lack of research on values applied within a mental health context. Aims: The current study aimed to add to the existing research on values applied within a mental health context by exploring values, perfectionism and psychological distress; specifically the effects of priming the social value of Achievement on behaviour associated with perfectionism and self-reported anxiety and depression. To achieve these aims, the study utilised Schwartz (1992) and Schwartz, et al. (2012) cognitive models of basic values and Maio, et al. (2009) and Maio (2010) research on priming values to motivate behaviour change. The study also utilised Higgins (1987) theory of self-discrepancy, to consider value discrepancy and emotional distress. Methods: The study made use of a between subjects analogue design, with a sample of 90 non-clinical participants aged between 18- 65 years old. Participants were randomly allocated to one of three group conditions (Experimental Group 1 (n=30)), Experimental Group 2 (n=30), or Control Group 3 (n=30). All participants completed the HADS, MCUP and adapted PVQ measures, before receiving a priming or neutral task. All participants then completed an experimental behavioural task. Results: Higher perfectionism was related to Self-Enhancement and Conservation value priorities, with strongest relations to Achievement based values. These findings suggest that perfectionism was related to value priorities that promote the self and the existing status quo, whilst being self-protective and serving to cope with anxiety. Perfectionism was found to have both a ‘healthy/positive’ and ‘unhealthy/negative’ aspect. This appears to support Achievement being related to perfectionism, as Achievement values have an overlapping position on the self-protection/self-growth dimension of Schwartz, et al. (2012) model. Priming Achievement based values increased perfectionist behaviour associated with more ‘healthy or positive’ behaviour. Results indicated that higher perfectionism was related to higher self-reported levels of anxiety and depression. ‘Unhealthy/negative’ perfectionism was related with higher actual/ought discrepancy in Achievement values, suggesting that perfectionism was associated with the actual pursuit of Achievement value priorities (i.e. success, ambition, capability, and influence) not meeting the perceived expectations of others. Conclusions: The current study provided empirical support for the inclusion of a theory and model of values and value discrepancy to further understand perfectionism and distress. The results are discussed in relation to the existing literature, applied to a mental health context and clinical implications. The study is then critiqued and recommendations for future research are offered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology