Testing if Healthy Perfectionism Enhances Academic Achievement in Australian Secondary School Students

Elizabeth Thorpe, Ted Netteelbeck


Although considerable evidence has confirmed that measures of intelligence and conscientiousness substantially predict academic achievement, other personality variables have attracted only limited research. The purpose of this study was to test the extent to which intelligence and personality variables, including perfectionism, accounted for academic grades. Participants were 180 (65 males) secondary school students in years 11-12. They completed tests for fluid and crystallised abilities (Gf, Gc), Conscientiousness (C), Openness to Experience (O), Neuroticism (N), Need for Cognition (NFC) and the Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, which was used to define healthy perfectionism (HP) and unhealthy perfectionism (UHP). Gender differences for all measures were negligible and not considered further. One aspect of HP (personal standards) overlapped moderately with NFC but HP and NFC appeared to be different constructs. Hierarchical regression found that Gf, Gc and C together accounted for 27% of variance in academic grade, with HP explaining an additional 6%. Further contribution from NFC was not statistically significant. N correlated with UHP but did not impact grade. Higher concern about parental criticisms correlated (r = -.27) with lower academic grade.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jedp.v4n2p1

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Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology   ISSN 1927-0526 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0534 (Online)

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