Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 137-142

First online:

Perfectionism, stress, and vulnerability to depression

  • Paul L. HewittAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan
  • , Dennis G. DyckAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Manitoba

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The relation between stressful life events, perfectionism, and relative depression in a university sample was studied. Results indicated that the relationship between stressful events and depression was significant only for participants who scored above the median on a scale of perfectionistic attitudes. Additional regression analyses indicated that later depression was significantly predicted by prior depression and current perfectionistic attitudes. On the other hand, stressful life events and prior perfectionistic attitudes did not significantly predict later depression. Taken together these findings suggest that perfectionistic attitudes are a concomitant of depression and that they may mediate the relationship between stress and depression. Although strong evidence of cognitive vulnerability was not obtained, the need for controlled experimentation with clinical samples was discussed.

Key words

perfectionism stress vulnerability depression