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Title: The role of coping motives and self-compassion in the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and alcohol use
Author: Kerr, C.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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Maladaptive perfectionism is a trans-diagnostic, multifaceted personality trait which has been associated with psychological distress. The focus of this thesis is the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and substance use. Research to date investigating the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and substance use has been equivocal. Therefore this thesis aimed to develop a better understanding of this relationship. To address this two papers are presented: a systematic literature review (Chapter 1) and a cross-sectional empirical paper (Chapter 2). The appendices section contains additional information relating to the two chapters. The literature review identified, collated and reported previous research in the area of perfectionism and substance misuse (alcohol and drug use). A total of 10 studies were found to be relevant after reviewing the inclusion criteria. Studies were included if they were published in English, in peer reviewed journals, used a quantitative methodology, were conducted with either adult or child populations, in community or clinical settings and reported data regarding the relationship between perfectionistic traits and substance use. The review includes a summary of the conceptualisation of perfectionism, assessment measures utilised and a synopsis of the findings from the studies. The literature to date in this area was reviewed. It was identified that perfectionism was both a risk factor and a protective factor for substance use. These conflicting findings highlighted the complex nature of perfectionism and indicated that mediating factors were influencing the relationship between the two variables. As a result recommendations for future research were proposed. Chapter 2 consists of an empirical paper. This paper drew on recommendations from the systematic review to evaluate the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and substance use. A model was developed based on previous literature in the area and was tested using structural equation modelling. Specifically, the role of self-compassion and coping motives on maladaptive perfectionism and alcohol use were investigated. The paper also extended previous research in this area by using both implicit and explicit measures of maladaptive perfectionism. It was hypothesised that self-compassion would mediate the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and drinking behaviour. Online self-report questionnaires and an implicit association task were completed by 89 individuals from both community and student populations. The analysis supported previous findings that maladaptive perfectionism predicts drinking to cope and results in increased alcohol consumption. It was also identified that although higher scores of maladaptive perfectionism predicted lower selfcompassion, this did not predict alcohol consumption. Exploratory analysis revealed that selfconcealment plays a role in drinking behaviour in those with high maladaptive perfectionism. Taken together, this research highlights the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and avoidant coping strategies such as drinking to cope and self-concealment on drinking behaviour. It develops our understanding of the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and alcohol use and presents recommendations for clinicians and future research. As the empirical paper will be submitted for publication to the Journal of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, it is written up in a style required for this.
Supervisor: Christiansen, P. ; Dickson, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral