The Level of Multidimensional Perfectionism and Motivational Orientation among Undergraduate Students

The Level of Multidimensional Perfectionism and Motivational Orientation among Undergraduate Students

Abstract

Background. Perfectionism is a multidimensional personality trait related to an individuals desire to achieve optimal performance. From this perspective, perfectionism plays an important role in students’ motivation and their interpretation of the contexts for achievement. However, perfectionism which is encouraged by the views of others may result in increased performance levels of undergraduate university students.

Objective. This study sought to identify the level of multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation among a group of undergraduate students in Jordan, while also investigating the relationship between multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation.

Design. To collect the data, questionnaires measuring multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation, were administered to a sample of406 male and female undergraduate students at Hashemite University and Al-Hussein Bin Talal University during the academic year 2016/2017.

Results. It was shown that the level of multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation was moderate, with no significant differences between the dimensions of multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation attributable to gender. Moreover, the results showed a positive and statistically significant relationship between the multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation subscales.

Conclusion. Our study provides valuable insight into perfectionist trends and their relationship to motivational orientation in Arab countries. It contributes to the literature by demonstrating that perfectionism contributes to performance and achievement through its relationship to motivational orientation.

Authors

Mahasneh, A.M.
Hashemite University, Zarqa, Jordan
Alwan, A.F.
Hashemite University, Zarqa, Jordan
Al-Rawwad, Th.M.
Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Jordan

Received: 08.14.2018

Accepted: 03.12.2019

PDF: http://psychologyinrussia.com/volumes/pdf/2019_2/Psychology_2_2019_94-114_Mahasneh.pdf

Pages: 94-114

DOI: 10.11621/pir.2019.0208

Keywords: Multidimensional perfectionism, motivational orientation, intrinsic-extrinsic motivation, undergraduate students

Introduction

Alfred Adler (1956) was one of the first theorists to identify perfectionism as a key element in personality development. He claimed that each individual has an ideal self-image of being strong, superior, and complete, and that this image becomes a goal he spends a lifetime striving to achieve. Adler therefore viewed the struggle for perfection as a normal human phenomenon in separable from the instinct to survive; a person's innate tendency to strive for pre-eminence and superiority lies at the core of his theory of individual psychology. It was also his contention that this innate predisposition contributes toward the individual's problem-solving ability, as well as toward recognition of his potential. But Adler perceives the overwhelming desire for perfection as being adaptive only when moderated by social interest, while the lack of social interest can result in maladaptive perfectionism, which is manifested in unrealistic goals and unrealistically high standards demanded for the achievement of such goals.

Ellis's (1958) and Horney (1970) explained perfectionism as an individual's obsession with achievement of superior intellectual and moral standards,and specified it as a mainly self-sponsored type of neurosis. Hamachek's (1978) conceptualization of perfectionism as a contradictory paradigm suggesting the existence of a both normal and neurotic perfectionism, has been embraced by empirical studies on a global scale. The normal perfectionist is seen as being highly motivated to attain autonomously-set standards of achievement, while however, recognizing and accepting personal limitations in pursuance of the sought-after goals. Hamachek (1978) further defined normal perfectionists as deriving great enjoyment and satisfaction in expending the maximum meticulous effort in fulfilling a set task, while at the same time allowing for a certain relaxation in adhering precisely to an exacting regimen when the situation permits. The normal perfectionist seeks appreciation and endorsement much as everyone does, with the benefit from approval being manifest in a sense of positive well-being which encourages and reinforces his/ her determination to intensify his/her efforts.

Burns (1980) defined perfectionism as an unrelenting endeavor to achieve objectives, whereby  self-esteem is based upon striving towards goals and measuring one's self-worth based upon success and achievement. Pacht (1984), however, defined perfectionism as the determination to achieve unattainably high standards in order to gain approbation from those whose esteem and approval is deemed important.

The environment and conditions contributing to the development of perfectionism are necessarily of interest to researchers, and include various aspects of parenting, particularly relative to the three types of parental approval: non-approval; inconsistent approval; or conditional approval. The child raised in a non-approval or inconsistent approval environment has difficulty in developing a perception of the characteristics required to rate his standard of performance or achievement, since his/her parents deem any performance falling short of perfection to be unacceptable (Frost, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1991). Therefore, in this environment, the child associates love and approval as conditional on a certain acceptable level of results (Frost et al., 1991). This was also commented on by Hollender (1965), and Hamachek (1978), who stated that in order to achieve the approbation of perfectionist parents, a child would continually strive to attain the standards necessary. Burns (1980), reported that when parents predictably react to high performance with rewards and acceptance, while his/her mistakes and poor achievement result in parental disappointment and negative reactions, then the child construes such reactions as failure to achieve resulting in punishment or rejection demonstrated by loss of parental acceptance. Blatt (1995), states that a wide range of parental attitudes, ranging from excessive control, criticism, and abuse, to neglect, and rejection, may, over a period of time, be adopted by the child, and thus become the motivation for the child's search for self-perfection.

This reaction is reflected in the characteristics of perfectionism identified by Flett & Hewitt (2002); and; Frost et al. (1990): namely, a striving for flawlessness, setting excessively high standards, and being extremely critical of one's own performance and behavior. Until the early 1990s, perfectionism had been regarded as one-dimensional, but as a result of its differentiation into two main types, it has come be seen as multidimensional (Riley & Shafran, 2005). In their paper, Frost et al.(1990), proposed five dimensions of perfectionism: 1) a tendency to construe mistakes as failure, resulting in loss of respect; 2) setting unrealistically high standards of personal achievement which are often unattainable; 3) striving, often unsuccessfully, to achieve the high standards set by parental expectations; 4) receiving excessive parental criticism; and 5) lacking confidence about one's actions and doubting the quality of one's performance. An additional sixth dimension was a strong tendency towards precision, orderliness and organization (Alden, Ryder, & Mellings, 2002; Frost et al., 1993; Frost, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1991; Frost et al., 1990; Frost et al., 1995).

In their study, Hewitt and Flett (1991) identified three dimensions of perfectionism. The first was: self-orientation, wherein the individual himself sets unrealistic standards of achievement, strives to attain them in an attempt to avoid failure, is excessively self-critical, and consistently focuses on his perceived faults and flaws. They termed the second other-directed perfectionism, in which the individual views others as being able to achieve unrealistically high standards, views them as competition, and consequently strives to match or better their performance. The third dimension is socially-prescribed perfectionism, in which the individual is convinced that he must fulfill what he believes to be others' perception of him (Blankstein & Winkworth, 2004; Flett et al., 1995; Hall, 2006; Hewitt & Flett, 1991a; Hewitt & Flett, 1991b; Hewitt, Flett, & Turnbull, 1992a; Hewitt, Flett, & Weber, 1994; Hewitt, Newton, Flett, & Callander, 1997; Kobori, Yamagata, & Kijima, 2005).

Other researchers have differentiated two major dimensions of perfectionism (Stoeber & Otto, 2006), one a positive or adaptive dimension described as normal and healthy, and the other a negative or maladaptive dimension described as neurotic and unhealthy (Campbell & Di Paula, 2002; Flett & Hewitt, 2002b; Hamachek, 1978; Rice & Preusser, 2002; Peters, 2005; Slaney, Rice, & Ashby, 2002; Stumpf & Parker, 2000; Terry-Short, Owens, Slade, & Dewey, 1995). In his study, Hamachek (1978) reasoned that striving for perfectionism can be considered a normal endeavor and may result in positive adjustment, describing "normal perfectionism", as, on the one hand, striving to achieve realistic goals which, when accomplished, effectively enhance self-esteem and satisfaction, and on the other hand, accepting both personal and environment-induced limitations.

In recent years there have been increasing references to an analogous concept, that of positive perfectionism, whereby the individual is self-motivated, and has the will and readiness to respond to the challenge of high achievement. The resultant rewards of success heighten self-esteem and self-assurance. Thus, the positive perfectionist sets high personal goals and standards, and is prepared to make the effort required to attain achievement-associated rewards, while at the same time being satisfied with his performance (Accordino, Accordino, & Slaney, 2000; Blackburn, 2003; Davis, 1997; Hamachek, 1978; Rheaume et al., 2000). The positive outlook thus described is associated with social activity and frequent positive, satisfaction-inducing events(Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). Flett & Hewitt (2002b), in their paper see positive perfectionism as an adaptive concept which, while encouraging positive action towards high achievement, allows the individual to maintain a balanced and proportionate attitude in his/her perfectionism, and thus engenders high performance and success.

On the other hand, Hamachek (1978) described neurotic perfectionism, where the individual sets excessively high standards and is constantly hypercritical of his own conduct and performance (Frost et al., 1990). The neurotic perfectionist is driven by fear of failure and is incapable of tolerating any imperfection however small and insignificant; thus, he/she is constantly burdened by anxiety and lack of confidence regarding his/her competencies. The neurotic perfectionist is therefore in direct contrast to the normal perfectionist, who still regards his performance as successful despite minor flaws (Flett & Hewitt, 2002b; Hamacheek, 1978; Pacht, 1984; Parker & Adkins, 1995).

According to Hewitt and Flett (1991a), the level and type of motivation in both self-oriented and socially-prescribed perfectionism may be associated with the impact of one potential factor. Elaborating on this concept in their study(1991b), the researchers suggest a more inherent and intrinsic form of motivation in self-oriented perfectionism, since it is characterized by an integral personal need for self-improvement and ultimate perfection. Whereas self-motivated perfectionism is deemed intrinsic, the motivational source for socially-prescribed perfectionism is extrinsic, characterized by feelings of frustration at the inability to exercise any effective personal impact on arbitrarily imposed evaluative standards. These feelings are also the result of a deep desire for approbation, as well as the wish to avoid punishment (Flett et al., 1994; Hewitt & Flett, 1991a).

Motivation is defined as the urge that stimulates an individual to participate in an activity. Intrinsic motivation is to perform an activity for its inherent gratification rather than for a specific result (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Intrinsic motivation is the personal internal incentive to engage in an activity (Amabile, 1983a; Lepper & Green, 1978). In their publication, Ryan & Deci (2000) defined extrinsic motivation as performing an action because of a probable outcome, meaning that the self-motivation involved in the performance of such an act is stimulated by external factors. In an earlier study, Deci et al. (1981) stated that intrinsic motivation could be negatively affected by detrimental social conditions, particularly when encountered in educational and working environments. This view was upheld by Amabile's research (1983b).

Extensive research, including experimental work on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and the effect of socially prescribed standards, has shown an increase in the level of extrinsic motivation to be associated with a decreased level of intrinsic motivation. Research by Deci & Ryan (1985), and, Ryan (1982) showed the detrimental effect of controlling feedback which reinforced the perception of meeting externally imposed criteria, resulting in reduced intrinsic motivation and increased negativism, given the definition of self-determined motivation as the degree to which an individual participates in an activity by personal choice and/or enjoyment (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 1991, 2000). A number of researchers state that the relationship between the particular style of perfectionism and the type of motivational orientation suggests that self-oriented perfectionism is associated with self-determined forms of motivation, whereas socially-prescribed perfectionism is associated with non self-determined forms of motivation (Blais, Sabourin, Boucher, & Vallerand, 1990; Ryan & Connell, 1989; Vallerand & Bissonnette, 1992; Vallerand, Fortier, & Guay, 1997).

On reviewing the literature, we found that dimensions of both perfectionistic concerns and perfectionistic strivings correlated positively with fear of failure, but the larger correlations were generally shown by perfectionistic concerns, thus signifying the stronger, more consistent associations with fear of failure. Furthermore, studies by Sagar & Stoeber (2009); Stoeber & Becker (2008); and Stoeber & Rambow (2007),  showed that where the two-dimension overlap was statistically controlled, the perfectionist strivings dimension showed no positive relationship with fear of failure; on the contrary, negative relationships with fear of failure were illustrated in two out of the three studies (Sagar & Stoeber, 2009; Stoeber & Becker, 2008).

This variation in patterns between variety and unique relationships, according to Stoeber & Gaudreau (2017), indicates that the positive relationship between perfectionistic strivings/perfectionistic concerns and the with fear of failure, may possibly be the cause of, and indeed even suppress, potential negative relationships with fear of failure. By contrast, no change was evident in the relationship patterns shown in perfectionist concerns when the overlap with perfectionistic strivings was controlled, while positive relationships between perfectionistic concerns and fear of failure persisted in all its dimensions. Although no significant relationships were seen between the future, perfectionistic concerns and the hope of success, positive relationship with perfectionistic strivings continued to be seen (Stoeber, Damian, & Madigan, 2018).

Bi-variate correlations were reported by a number of studies examining the relationship between perfectionistic strivings and concerns, and task and ego objectives (Appleton, Hall, & Hill, 2009; Hall, Kerr, Kozub, & Finnie, 2007; Lemyre, Hall, & Roberts, 2008; Nerland & Saether, 2016). Regarding task objectives, while the majority of the studies reported perfectionistic strivings as showing positive correlations, the studies by Lemyre, Hall and Roberts (2008), and Nerland and Saether (2016), reported no significant correlations. The two perfectionism dimensions do, however, exhibit comparable profiles in two motivational qualities: firstly in performance-approach goals, since despite their being generally avoidance-oriented, perfectionistic concerns also illustrate unique positive relationships with performance-approach objectives. The dual-process performance model cannot explain this, but it can, according to Elliot (1997), be explained by the hierarchical model of achievement motivation. Consistent with this model, the motivations for performance-approach objectives are both hope of success and fear of failure, thus explaining the positive relationships shown by the association of perfectionistic strivings with the hope of success, and perfectionistic concerns' association with fear of failure.

Future, performance-approach objectives, may involve dual orientations: a standard one, comprising one's own performance with that of others, and as competence demonstration attempting to prove superiority. Although these appear similar, only the performance comparison is in fact achievement-motivated, while the competence demonstration is, according to Senko, Hulleman, & Harackiewicz (2011), predominantly self-presentational. This fact  may clarify the situation wherein the two perfectionism dimensions are associated with performance-approach objectives.

The link between performance-approach objectives and perfectionistic strivings may occur due to achievement-motivation characteristics, while in the case of perfectionistic concerns, the association is due to self-presentational characteristics. Research by Shim & Fletcher(2012) and Stoeber (2014), supports this reasoning, since it showed that perfectionistic concerns  had positive correlations with demonstration-approach objectives, but that this was not  the case for perfectionistic strivings.

The result of our review of the above studies investigating multidimensional perfectionism from the standpoint of self-determination theory reveals that, as stated by Stoeber & Gaudreau (2017), when the unique relationship between two perfectionism dimensions is examined, perfectionistic concerns also show distinctive and particularly evident motivational potentials regarding self-determined motivation. On the other hand, the perfectionistic strivings dimension is associated in the main with motivation and forms of governance characterized by greater self-determination, such as intrinsic motivation, integration, and identified regulation. These are in contrast to the perfectionistic concerns, which are generally associated with a lower-degree of self-determination, motivations, and regulatory precepts, including motivation, and external and interjected regulation. Nevertheless, Stoeber, Damian, and Madigan (2018) found that, even when the overlap with perfectionistic concerns is controlled, perfectionistic strivings may also show positive relationships with interjected and external regulation, which suggests that some identified motivational qualities may be apparent in the weaker self-determined regulation domain.

Stoeber and Eismann (2007) investigated how different facets of perfectionism were related to motivation, effort, achievement, and distress in146 young musicians. The results showed that striving for perfection was associated with intrinsic motivation whereas negative reactions to imperfection were associated with extrinsic motivation.

Stoeber and Becker (2008) investigated how two facets of perfectionism-perfectionism strivings and negative reactions to imperfection, were related to achievement motives and attributions of success and failure in 74 female soccer players. The results showed that striving for perfection was related to both the hope of success and egotistical designations of success.

Stoeber, Feast, and Hayward (2009) examined how the two forms of perfectionism (self-oriented and socially prescribed) were related to intrinsic-extrinsic motivation by testing anxiety levels in 104 university students. The results showed positive correlations between self-oriented perfectionism and intrinsic reasons for studying, and a positive correlation between socially prescribed perfectionism and extrinsic reasons for studying.

Appleton and Hill (2012) investigated the relationship between dimensions of perfectionism (self-oriented and socially prescribed) and motivation regulations and athlete burnout in 231 elite junior athletes. The results showed a significant relationship between self-oriented perfectionism and intrinsic motivation.

Chang, Lee, Byeon, and Lee (2015) examined the relationship between perfectionism traits, motivation types, and academic burnout in 238 in Korean adolescent students. The results showed positive correlation between self-oriented perfectionism and levels of intrinsic motivation, and a positive correlations between socially-prescribed perfectionism and levels of extrinsic motivation.

In the present study we have expanded on this body of work by examining the dimensionality of the perfectionism construct in a sample of Jordanian university students. In Jordan, there has been little empirical study into multidimensional perfectionism. Therefore, one purpose of this study was to determine the level of multidimensional perfectionism (self-oriented, other-directed, and socially prescribed) and motivational orientation(intrinsic or extrinsic), while the second purpose was to examine the relationship between multidimensional perfectionism(self-oriented, other-directed, and socially prescribed) and the type of motivational orientation (intrinsic or extrinsic). 

Methods

Participants

The participants in our sample were 406 undergraduate students, 117 male and 289 female, from Hashemite University and Al-Hussein Bin Talal University in Jordan. They were volunteers from a second-year Introductory Course in Educational Psychology, with a mean age of 20.3 years (SD=3.6).

Measures and procedures

Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale(MPS) 

The Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS), developed by Hewitt & Flett (1991), comprises 45 items. It consists of three subscales: 1) self-oriented perfectionism(15 items, e.g. "One of my goals is to be perfect in everything I do"); 2)other-directed perfectionism (15 items, e.g. "Everything that others do must be of top-notch quality"), and 3)socially-prescribed perfectionism (15 items, e.g. "It doesn’t matter when someone close to me does not do their absolute best"). The respondents are asked to rate their agreement or disagreement with the statements based on a 7-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1= (strongly disagree) to 7= (strongly agree), with the higher scores on each of the three scales reflecting higher levels of perfectionism. Many research studies attest to the reliability and validity of the MPS, with Cronbach's alpha confidence ranging between 0 .74 to 0.89 in different studies.

In this study the MPS was translated from English into Arabic by two faculty members fluent in English and Arabic. A rigorous translation verification process, including forward-backward translation, was conducted to ensure an Arabic version of the MPS in which the items and constructs were synonymous with the original English version.

A further evaluation was then conducted by members from three faculties of Hashemite University, who did not participate in the forward-backward translation process, as an additional safeguard towards ensuring equivalency in both the original English and the back-translated versions. If discrepancies were found, those items were again subjected to the forward-backward translation process until the faculty members were satisfied that there was a substantive equivalence of meaning. A pilot version of the Arabic MPS subsequently tested by a group of 25 students, to collect feedback on instrument content and usage, resulted in no significant changes. 

A further pilot test was conducted with a group of 150 students enrolled in the Faculty of Educational Science at Hashemite University who were subsequently excluded from the actual sample of the study. 

To check the validity of the MPS Arabic version, the authors tested the confirmatory factor analysis by using principal component analysis method. The results  of confirmatory factor analysis loaded on three factors with a total explained variance of 49.24%. Results of the three factors total explained variance are presented in Table 1.

Table 1

Factors total explained variance

Variables

Eigen value

Variance explained

Total variance explained

Factor 1

9.048

20.109

20.109

Factor 2

7.245

16.01

36.209

Factor 3

5.901

13.122

49.241


Note: (factor loadings below 0.35 are omitted. KMO= 0.66, Bartlett test= 1963.338, df= 990, Sig= 0.00).

Also, factor loadings of each item of the MPS Arabic version were  conducted though the same  sample used in the pilot study(n= 150 students); the value of each item is  presented in Table 2.

Table 2

Factor loading of each items in the MPS Arabic version

Items


Factor


Items


Factor


Items


Factor


Items


Factor


Items


Factor


1.

0.532

10.

0.591

19.

0.666

28.

0.632

37.

0.633

2.

0.650

11.

0.531

20.

0.475

29.

0.569

38.

0.546

3.

0.572

12.

0.505

21.

0.472

30.

0.645

39.

0.563

4.

0.453

13.

0.452

22.

0.376

31.

0.480

40.

0.422

5.

0.503

14.

0.702

23.

0.579

32.

0.390

41.

0.571

6.

0.684

15.

0.483

24.

0.543

33.

0.491

42.

0.549

7.

0.445

16.

0.707

25.

0.404

34.

0.372

43.

0.698

8.

0.358

17.

0.364

26.

0.495

35.

0.543

44.

0.372

9.

0.625

18.

0.599

27.

0.763

36.

0.541

45.

0.502

The same group of students was used to examine the readability of the MPS;  internal consistency was determined by test-retest. The results are presented in Table 3.  

Table3

Value reliability test-retest and Cronbach's alpha form the multidimensional perfectionism subscale

Variables

test-retest

Cronbach's alpha

Self-oriented perfectionism

0.74*

0.69*

Other-oriented perfectionism

0.76*

0.71*

Socially-prescribed perfectionism

0.73*

0.68*

*(P= 0.01).

Table 3 shows the test-retest reliability co-efficient as 0.74, 0.76, and 0.73 respectively for self-directed, other-directed, and socially-prescribed perfectionism. The Cronbach's alpha result was 0.69, 071, and 0.68 respectively for self-oriented, other-directed, and socially-prescribed perfectionism.

Motivation Orientation Scale (MOS)

The Motivation Orientation Scale (MOS), developed by Cain (2008), and consists of 30 items distributed over two main dimensions: 1)Intrinsic Motivation, comprising 17 items to measure three subscales (challenge, six items, curiosity, six items and independent mastery, five items) and 2) Extrinsic Motivation comprising 13 items to measure two subscales (easy work, seven items and dependence on professor, six items). The items were rated on a 5-point Likert scale as follow: 1=strongly disagree; 2=disagree; 3-neutral; 4=agree; and 5=strongly agree.The MOS showed a Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient of0.90 for intrinsic motivationand 0.78 for extrinsic motivation.

In this study the MOS was translated from English into Arabic by two bilingual faculty members, with the entire translation process being subjected to strict scrutiny and highly demanding verification procedures to ensure veracity and authentication, including  forward-backward and backward-forward translation. A further evaluation was then conducted by members of three faculties from Hashemite University, who did not participate in the forward-backward translation process. In addition, cases of discrepancy in meaning were independently investigated and revised to ensure an Arabic version of the MOS items synonymous in meaning with the original English version.Feedback data obtained from a pilot version of the Arabic MOS tested by a group of 25 students resulted in no significant changes.

A further pilot test was conducted with a group of 150 students enrolled in the Faculty of Educational Science at Hashemite University who were subsequently excluded from the actual sample of the study. 

To check the validity of MOS Arabic version, the authors tested the confirmatory factor analysis by using the principal component analysis method. The results  of confirmatory factor analysis loaded on three factors with a total explained variance of 54.84%.  The results of the three factors total explained variance are presented in Table 4.

Table 4 

Factors total explained variance

Variables 

Eigen value

Variance explained

Total variance explained

Factor 1

4.835

16.118

16.118

Factor 2

2.806

9.352

25.470

Factor 3

1.871

6.238

31.708

Factor 4

1.649

5.495

37.203

Factor 5

1.526

5.088

42.291

Factor 6

1.332

4.440

46.732

Factor 7

1.223

4.076

50.808

Factor 8

1.211

4.038

54.846


Note: (factor loadings below 0.35 are omitted. KMO= 0.70, Bartlett test= 1088.289, df= 435, Sig= 0.00) 

Also, factor loadings of each item of the MOS Arabic version was  conducted though the same  sample of a pilot study(n= 150 students). The value of each item is  presented in Table 5.

Table 5 

Factor loading of each item of the MOS Arabic version

Items

Factor

Items

Factor

Items

Factor

Items

Factor

Items

Factor

1.

0.416

7.

0.514

13.

0.800

19.

0.677

25.

0.612

2.

0.569

8.

0.641

14.

0.769

20.

0.386

26.

0.803

3.

0.769

9.

0.536

15.

0.449

21.

0.757

27.

0.641

4.

0.623

10.

0.381

16.

0.616

22.

0.385

28.

0.753

5.

0.783

11.

0.641

17.

0.626

23.

0.772

29.

0.759

6.

0.853

12.

0.535

18.

0.507

24.

0.412

30.

0.747

Test-retest and internal consistency of MOS readability were determined using the same students as those in the pilot study. The MOS readability values are presented in Table 6.

Table 6 

Value reliability test-retest and Cronbach's alpha for the motivational orientation subscale

Variables

test-retest

Cronbach's Alpha

Intrinsic motivation

0.89*

0.86*

Challenge

0.78*

0.75*

Curiosity

0.77*

0.74*

Independent mastery

0.79*

0.74*

Extrinsic motivation

0.82*

0.79*

Easy work

0.77*

0.73*

Dependence on professor

0.74*

0.69*


*(P= 0.01).

Table 6 shows a test-retest reliability coefficient of 0.89, 0.78, 0.77, 0.79, 0.82, 0.77, and0.74 respectively for intrinsic motivation, challenge, curiosity, independent mastery, extrinsic motivation, easy work, and dependence on professor. The Cronbach's alpha results were 0.86, 0.75, 0.74, 0.74, 0.79, 0.73, and 0.69 respectively for intrinsic motivation, challenge, curiosity, independent mastery, extrinsic motivation, easy work, and dependence on professor.

Data collection and analysis

Data was collected during the first semester of the 2016/2017 academic year, following a meeting with the student participants during which the researcher described the purpose and methodology of the study, emphasizing his assurance of confidentiality regarding the participants' identities and other personal data. Participants were then required to provide demographic information and to complete the multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation scales.

The current study had two objectives, the first of which was to determine  the level of multidimensional perfectionismand type of motivational orientation of the Hashemite University and Al-Hussein Bin Talal University studentsin respect to each dimension. This objective was realized using descriptive statistics including means, standard deviations, and an independent sample t-test. The second research objective was to examine the correlation between multidimensional perfectionismand motivational orientation,with results from Pearson correlation and multiple regression analyses. Analysis of the three research objectives used SPSS 17.

Results

To determine the level of multidimensional perfectionism and motivation orientation among undergraduate students in Jordan, we usedillustrative statistics including means and standard deviation. We interpreted levels of multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation as follows: below 3 = low; 3-4 = medium; above 4 = high. 

Table 7

Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation

Variables

M

SD

Multidimensional perfectionism

Self-oriented perfectionism

3.61

.47

Other-oriented perfectionism

3.46

.46

Socially-prescribed perfectionism

3.52

.47

Motivational orientation

Intrinsic motivation

3.47

.73

Challenge

3.39

.75

Curiosity

3.52

.71

Independent mastery

3.51

.73

Extrinsic motivation

3.32

.73

Easy work

3.33

.71

Dependence on professor

3.32

.75

As shown in Table 7, the mean for overall self-oriented perfectionism was 3.61, socially-prescribed perfectionism was 3.52, and other-directed perfectionism3.46, indicating a moderate level of multidimensional perfectionism.The mean for overall intrinsic motivation was 3.47(for curiosity was 3.52, for independent mastery 3.51 and for challenge 3.39). The mean for extrinsic motivation was 3.32,( for easy work was 3.33, and for dependence on professor 3.32), also indicating a moderate  level of motivational orientation.

To determine whether significant differences exist between the level of multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation according to gender, we did a t-test, and measured means and standard deviation for each dimension (SeeTable 8).

Table 8

T-test analysis of gender differences in multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation

Variable

 

Gender

N

Mean

SD

T

df

Significance

Self-oriented perfectionism

Male

117

3.63

0.54

0.166

404

0.86

Female

289

3.62

0.40

Other-diected perfectionism

Male

117

3.50

0.46

0.947

404

0.34

Female

289

3.45

0.45

Socially-prescribed perfectionism

Male

117

3.27

0.47

0.688

404

0.49

Female

289

3.24

0.41

Intrinsic motivation

Male

117

3.44

0.67

-0.578

404

0.56

Female

289

3.48

0.59

Extrinsic motivation

Male

117

3.29

0.66

-0.522

404

0.60

Female

289

3.32

0.54

As shown in Table 8, there were no significant differences in multidimensional perfectionism  and motivational orientation attributable to the students' gender.

Table 9

Correlation matrix of multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation

Variable

Self-oriented perfectionism

Other-directed perfectionism

Socially-prescribed perfectionism

Intrinsic motivation

0.39*

0.23*

0.33*

Challenge

0.32*

0.17*

0.29*

Curiosity

0.36*

0.15*

0.26*

Independent mastery

0.31*

0.27*

0.29*

Extrinsic motivation

0.38*

0.30*

0.32*

Easy work

0.29*

0.29*

0.28*

Dependence on professor

0.34*

0.20*

0.24*


*(P= 0.01).

Table 9, shows a positive and statistically significant relationship at the level (α=0.01) between the multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation subscales. 

Multiple regression analysis: 

Table 10

Hierarchical regression of multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation

multidimensional perfectionism

 

 

 

Intrinsic motivation

R

F

β

T

sig

Self-oriented perfectionism

 

 

0.410

 

 

0.168

 

 

27.108

0.337

5.274

0.00

Other-directed perfectionism

-.066

-1.046

0.29

Socially-prescribed perfectionism

0.149

2.197

0.02

Self-oriented perfectionism

 

 

Extrinsic motivation

 

 

 

0.399

 

 

 

0.153

 

 

 

25.317

0.277

4.313

0.01

Other-oriented perfectionism

0.093

1.478

0.14

Socially-prescribed perfectionism

0.074

1.092

0.27

Table 10 shows the results of the step-regression analysis using multidimensional perfectionism as a predictor of motivational orientation. It shows that elf-oriented perfectionism, other-directed perfectionism, and socially-prescribed perfectionism are significant predictors ofintrinsic motivation:R²=0.168, F= 27.108, P<0.005. These results were supported by the close-to-moderate correlation between three variables (r= 0.410); approximately 16.8% of the variance in student intrinsic motivation was accounted for by multidimensional perfectionismSelf-oriented perfectionism, other-oriented perfectionism, and socially-prescribed perfectionism are significant predictors of extrinsic motivation: R²=0.153, F= 25.317, P<0.005. These results were supported by the close-to-moderate correlation between three variables (r= 0.399); approximately 15.3% of the variance in student extrinsic motivation was accounted for by multidimensional perfectionism.

Discussion

Perfectionism is defined as a personality trait which, in its maladaptive form, is characterized by adverse and ultimately self-defeating thoughts and action. The individuals with such a trait are obsessed with achieving self-imposed and unrealistically high goals in all areas of performance, regardless of whether or not the task actually demands such a level of achievement. Perfectionism is also characterized by hypercritical self-evaluation where any performance considered to be below expectation is regarded as failure, and assumes an unwarranted and excessive importance which often deprecates successes in other areas.The purpose of the present study was to determine whether significant differences exist between the level of multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation with respect to gender within a sample of Jordanian undergraduate students, and also to investigate the relationship between multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation.

Our findings detected no gender bias or influence on the students' dimensions of multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation, therefore duplicating the results of several previous studies (Benjamin, Roberts, & Gotib, 1997; Flett, Blankstein, Hewitt, & Koledin, 1992; Hewitt & Fliet, 1991; Jonge & Waller, 2003).
Our second aim was to investigate the relationship between multi-dimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation. Our results revealed the existence of a positive and statistically significant relationship between multidimensional perfectionism (self-oriented perfectionism, other-directed perfectionism, and socially-prescribed perfectionism) and motivational orientation (both intrinsic and extrinsic).

Perfectionists are often victims of "all-or-nothing' thinking", where they believe they are failures if not all of their goals are achieved without any mistakes, and have inflexible notions of what constitutes success and failure. They often experience a fear of making mistakes, and measure their self-worth in terms of productivity and accomplishment.

We delineate perfectionism as having two main forms or concepts: 1) self-oriented (internally or intrinsically motivated), and 2) socially prescribed,(externally or extrinsically motivated). One of the positive facets of perfectionism is the motivation to achieve. In their study, Frost and Marten (1990), reported a positive association between self-oriented perfectionism and striving for positive achievement, while Neumeister (2004), reported self-oriented perfectionism as characterized the motivation for positive achievement rather than the negative motivation of avoiding-failure. This positive attitude motivated perfectionists to set realistic mastery goals, in addition to implementing reasonable and practical approaches towards achievement, which typically included challenge-seeking, time management, and requesting assistance. The results of studies conducted by Mills and Blankstein (2000); Miquelon, Vallerand, Grouzet, & Cardinal (2005); and Van Yperen (2006) demonstrated that self-oriented perfectionism illustrates both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, but in differing degrees, with intrinsic motivation showing the stronger and more consistent relationship. Conversely, extrinsic motivation demonstrated stronger and more consistent positive correlations with socially-prescribed perfectionism.

Ryan and Deci (2000) make the point that individuals who exhibit a high level of intrinsic motivation both accept the need for competence and autonomy, and experience pleasure and satisfaction in their achievement. They enjoy ultimate challenges, and instigate and appreciate effective feedback, while rejecting evaluations that are simply demeaning; all these elements are predictors of intrinsic motivation. In their study, Frey & Jegen (2001) note that even in ordinary situations involving money, people generally tend to act in response to intrinsic stimuli and incentives rather than weighing the possible or probable material or financial consequences of their actions.

On the other hand, Blankstein & Dunkley (2002) describe an association between negative aspects of perfectionism and lower achievement motivation, as in socially-prescribed perfectionism and maladaptive motivation. These researchers postulate that the observed negative influence on the academic achievement of socially-prescribed perfectionists is due to their main motivation being a fear of failure, rather than an intrinsic motivation to achieve and succeed.

Conclusion

Our study contributes to the literature in demonstrating that perfectionism contributes to performance and achievement through its relationship to motivational orientation, and its results show positive perfectionism can have a positive relationship with students' motivation and well-being. 

Limitations

Not with standing these promising findings, our study had some noteworthy limitations. Firstly, our sample was drawn solely from an undergraduate student population. Valuable future research into the psychometric qualities of the multidimensional perfectionism and motivational orientation scales could well encompass other populations such as secondary school students, for example. The second limitation is the fact that the results can only infer a correlation, not a causal relationship. Researchers considering future studies in this field may therefore consider using an alternative method, such as a longitudinal model.

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To cite this article: Mahasneh A.M., Alwan A.F., Al-Rawwad Th.M. (2019). The Level of Multidimensional Perfectionism and Motivational Orientation among Undergraduate Students. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 12(2), 94-114.

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