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Perfectionism in the workplace: examining the influence of perfectionistic characteristics on employees' work day and respite experiences

Newman, S. (2017). Perfectionism in the workplace: examining the influence of perfectionistic characteristics on employees' work day and respite experiences. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

This thesis comprises three studies that were designed to investigate the outcomes and mechanisms of perfectionism in a working population. Study one utilised a daily diary design and asked participants to complete questionnaires recording levels of event stress, emotional exhaustion, negative affect and coping immediately after work for five consecutive days. Work characteristics, demographics and measures of neuroticism, conscientiousness and perfectionism were collected in initial questionnaire booklets in all three studies. Results from 136 employees found that evaluative concerns perfectionism predicted daily levels of negative affect, event stress and avoidant coping. As predicted, event stress and avoidant coping mediated the relationship between evaluative concerns perfectionism and both negative affect and emotional exhaustion. Study two employed the same daily diary methodology and participant sample as study one but asked participants to record their levels of work-related perseverative cognition, negative affect and emotional exhaustion experienced during the evening. Analyses revealed that evaluative concerns perfectionism predicted evening levels of negative affect and work-related perseverative cognition. Work-related perseverative cognition predicted evening levels of negative affect and emotional exhaustion. End of work-day well-being was controlled for in both models. Further analyses suggested that work-related perseverative cognition mediated the relationship between evaluative concerns perfectionism and emotional exhaustion but not negative affect. Study three applied an eight-week longitudinal respite design over the Christmas vacation, in a sample of 140 teachers from the UK and Canada. Levels of fatigue, emotional exhaustion and negative affect were recorded weekly for eight consecutive weeks. In addition levels of work-related perseverative cognition were measured during the two Christmas vacation weeks (weeks three and four). Socially prescribed perfectionism predicted a quicker fade-out rate of vacation effects upon return to work. Work-related perseverative cognition during the vacation predicted levels of well-being upon return to work but further analysis suggested it did not function as a mechanism of perfectionism. The general discussion focuses on the theoretical implications of this research for the perfectionism and leisure time recovery literatures.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/20406
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