Nowadays, it is specified that perfectionism is a multi-dimensional construct.
Earlier beliefs about perfectionism distinguished between neurotic and narcissistic
perfectionism (Kohut, 1971), however recent researches
differentiate its social aspects from personal aspects (Frost
et al., 1990).
Hewitt and Flett (1991) recognized three items for
perfectionism; self-center, other-centered and society-centered. They stated
that the discerning aspect of these three dimensions of perfectionism isnt
the behavioral pattern, but rather it is the person or thing that perfectionism
is directed to. Frost et al. (1993) discovered
that there is significant overlap between scales of Frost
et al. (1990) and Hewitt and Flett (1991).
In recent years two positive and negative aspects of perfectionism are being
noticed by researchers. The first dimension is described as positive effort
for achieving the perfection (positive perfectionism) (Frost
et al., 1993) and it includes some aspect of perfectionism like;
trying to be perfect and establishing superior functional standards for oneself.
This dimension of perfectionism has a positive correlation with good adaptations
indices like positive affect and good academic performance (Frost
et al., 1993; Stumpf and Parker, 2000; Beiling
et al., 2003). The second dimension of perfectionism has been described
as self-critical perfectionism (negative perfectionism) (Frost
et al., 1993; Dunkley et al., 2003).
It encompasses some dimensions of perfectionism that are related to negative
assessment of action, being too preoccupied with mistakes and self-reproach
for those mistakes. This dimension of perfectionism is positively correlated
with indices of mental illness like depression, stress and anxiety (Beiling
et al., 2003). Blankenstein et al. (1993)
found out that both dimensions of perfectionism have correlation with some sorts
of fears like; fear of function assessment, fear of defeat and fear of making
mistake. Antecedent studies also showed that perfectionism has relationship
with insufficient relationships and cooperation (Epstein
and Eidelson, 1982). This is also suggested that setting up high standards
for functions make persons hesitated for showing their successes (Schlenker
and Leary, 1985). These researchers noted that such persons are socially
anxious and then they feel uncomfortable to embark on humanitarian behaviors.
Page et al. (2008) with an emphasis on importance
of personality in vocational adjustment, showed that in comparison between 5
factors of personality, perfectionism predicts higher variance of doubt or career
indecision. It was revealed in this study that self critical inclinations which
are being evaluated by negative perfectionism, contribute to understand the
role of personality in job selection. Also, a set of high personal standards
that are assessed by positive perfectionism seems that has relationship with
high vocational self efficacy.
Miller (1996) concluded that perception of social level
and place have relationship with perfectionism. As, perfectionist persons evaluate
their social level lower than real and they try continuously to achieve higher
rank and class in the society. Whereas, in our society having a career can be
realized as a higher social rank, then the first point in our study is that
whether working women and housekeepers are different in perfectionism or not.
Another variable studied here is self-alienation. This construct has been grown
from religious educations, philosophical thoughts and social psychology since
many years ago (Trusty and Dooley-Dickey, 1993) and
it alludes to social estrangement and lack of support or considerable relationship
with society. Alienation is the lack of association feeling, feeling of separation
from family, friends and friends (Bronfenbrenner, 1986).
In the work place, alienation is often accompanied with employees negate
behaviors like self-isolation in fulfillment of personal obligations, inexplicable
absence from job, vacating the job or being expulsed. In the house environment,
alienation is presented as lack of association, feeling of separation from family,
feeling of isolation and powerlessness in accomplishing the responsibilities
(Mau, 1993). Seeman (1959) defined
the alienation as discrepancy between personal expectations and received rewards
in the advanced societys context. His conceptualization of alienation
includes six dimensions; social isolation, cultural isolation, self-isolation,
powerlessness, insignificance and normlessness. Social science surveys havent
been able to validate these six separate dimensions, yet. Dean
(1961) following the method of Seeman, defined self alienation as a construct
comprises three items; social isolation, powerlessness and normlessness.
According to theory of Dean (1961), social isolation
is the feeling of loneliness even such moments one is in the society and among
others. Persons who feel socially isolation, tend to separate from common social
groups because of perceived insignificance feeling, lack of close relationship
with others, family and broader society. They think that they dont have
relationship with others and generally think that others dont notice them
(Dean, 1961). Powerlessness is the second dimension
of self alienation and is the feeling of powerlessness in affecting the personal
choices. This dimension also encompasses this belief that person have lower
level of control on what is happening for him/her. This dimension of self alienation
has a strong relationship with external source of control. Persons, who feel
powerlessness, often isolate themselves from others during problems and frustration
(Dean, 1961). Finally, normlessness consists of rejecting
the majority rules, societys values and values of cultural majority. These
people feel that they dont have link with popular norms, these people
hardly conform to current norms. Their rules and goals conflict with others,
other family members and workmates. Then, normlessness can occur in a situation
in which ones value system conflicts with norms of majority group. In
a family or work atmosphere, these feelings can inversely affect ones
function, success and finally his/her living.
Study of Palosuo (2000) concluded that self-alienation
have relationship with socioeconomic indices. In his study, it was revealed
that among persons with low educational level, self-alienation and especially
normlessness were frequently seen. In this study, there was an inverse relationship
between despair and powerlessness with economic income and having a job. Another
finding of this study showed that alienation feeling has a meaningful correlation
with most of health variables. In men, especially, powerlessness and despair
have relationship with unhealthy related habits. As it was expected, in this
study those persons who dont feel alienation, inclined toward a healthy
behavior. Furthermore, lack of exercise and overdrinking were correlated with
powerlessness in men, however this correlation was seen in women only between
lack of exercise and powerlessness.
Uitenbroek et al. (1996) deduced that self-alienation
has a stronger correlation with discomfort and detachment related indices like
loneliness, being single and dissatisfaction with different life territories.
Bobak et al. (1998) found out low perceived
control on life and health, are concepts that have relationship with self-alienation.
For this reason, self-alienation is more frequent in socialistic than capitalistic
Researchers realized that social responsibility has negative relationship with powerlessness and normlessness. All three dimensions of self-alienation (social isolation, powerlessness and normlessness) have inverse relationship with self-respect.
Nicol (2007) found out that social dominance orientation
had significant negative relationship with powerlessness dimension of self-alienation.
These researchers concluded that powerlessness feeling can be a main element
in persons powerlessness for changing the situation and condition.
Regarding the importance of womens working, second objective of this study is to compare the self-alienation between working and non-working women. According to above mentioned items following hypotheses are propounded in our study:
is difference between working and non-working women in the positive perfectionism|
is difference between working and non-working women in the negative perfectionism
is difference between working and non-working women in the feeling of
is difference between working and non-working women in the feeling of
is difference between working and non-working women in the social isolation
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Participants: All working women of Ardabil city at 2008 comprised the statistical population. And all housekeeper women without job were the normal statistical population. Of these statistical populations, 30 working and 30 housekeeper women were selected by cluster random sampling than sample size of this study includes 60 women who were surveyed by a causal-comparative method in a cross-sectional study.
Perfectionism questionnaire: This questionnaire was edited by Terry-Short
et al. (1995). This scale measures the perfectionism from the functional
and behavioral point of view. This scale has been edited to diagnose the positive
and negative perfectionism. Two sub-scales of perfectionism scale (positive
and negative) presents two kinds of rein forcer that person experiences them.
This is believed that positive perfectionism is directly arisen from perfectionistic
behavior-related positive rein forcer. Negative perfectionism, seems to be directly
related with negative rein forcers. This scale has 40 questions and subjects
respond the questions on a 5-option Likert scale (strongly agree, agree, undecided,
disagree, and strongly disagree). Twenty questions measure the positive perfectionism
and 20 questions measure the negative perfectionism. Range of scores is 20-100.
Self-alienation questionnaire: This questionnaire is edited by Dean
(1961) and has 24 items. Subjects respond the questions on a 5-option Likert
scale (strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree, and strongly disagree). Higher
score in this scale is indicative of higher level of self-alienation. Minimal
and maximal score of this questionnaire are 24 and 120, respectively. This questionnaire
has three sub-scales; normlessness (6 items), feeling of powerlessness (9 items)
and feeling of isolation (9 items). In the study of Dean
(1961) reliability coefficients were 0.78, 0.78, 0.73 and 0.83 for scale
as whole, powerlessness, normlessness and isolation, respectively. Cronbachs
alpha coefficient has been reported from 0.75 to 0.95 and also its validity
coefficient varies from 0.59-0.78.
After sampling and collecting demographic data, perfectionism and self-alienation questionnaires were consecutively completed individually by non-working women in the house and by working women in their work place. Collected data were analyzed by Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA), correlation coefficient tests and multivariate regression analysis tests.
Results shows that mean age of working and non-working women were 32.16 and 32.50, respectively. Standard deviation of the age of working and non-working women was 1.57 and 1.79, respectively. Level of education of working and non-working women varied from high school diploma to Bachelor of Science.
Results of Table 1 shows that mean and standard deviation
of working women in the normlessness, was 23.26 and 4.61, respectively. This
values for non-working women, was 26.60 and 3.39, respectively. In the powerlessness
mean and standard deviation of working women, were 22.46 and 4.32, respectively.
Non-working women have mean and standard deviation of 27.73 and 3.66, for powerlessness,
respectively. In the social isolation, mean and standard deviation were 31.16
for and 3.77 for working women, respectively and 32.46 and 10.92 for non-working
women, respectively. Working women had respectively following mean and standard
deviation for positive perfectionism; 78.33 and 10.25. Mean and standard deviation
of positive perfectionism for non-working women, were 76.56 and 10.57, respectively.
Negative perfectionism had following mean and standard deviation in the working
women; 61.66 and 9.81, respectively.
||Mean and Standard deviation of subjects scores in
self-alienation and perfectionism
||Results of multivariate analysis of variance on scores
of two groups in dependent variables
among study variables|
|*p<0.05, **p<0.001. 1: Positive perfectionism, 2: Negative
perfectionism, 3: Normlessness, 4: Powerlessness, 5: Social isolation
Non-working women had 66.80 and 10.43 mean
and standard deviation in negative perfectionism variable.
As it is observed in the Table 2 there is no difference between two groups in the positive perfectionism however there is significant difference between two groups in the negative perfectionism (p<0.05, F = 3.85) then the first hypothesis is rejected and second is proved. It means that in the non-working women negative perfectionism in higher than working women. There is significant difference between two groups in two of three items of self-alienation. Normlessness and powerlessness are significantly different and social isolation is not significantly different between two groups. Then third and forth hypotheses are approved and fifth hypothesis is rejected. It means that normlessness and powerlessness are higher among non-working than working women.
Results of Table 3 shows that positive perfectionism has significant positive correlation with negative perfectionism and normlessness. Negative perfectionism, also, has significant positive relationship with normlessness. High normlessness is associated with high powerlessness and high social isolation. Powerlessness has significant positive relationship with social isolation.
Table 4 shows that approximately 15% of total variance of positive perfectionism is explained by self-alienation. Results of regression coefficients, also, show that of self-alienations items, normlessness and powerlessness related t-test is statistically significant. It means that normlessness and powerlessness can predict the positive perfectionism positively and negatively, respectively.
Results of Table 5 shows that approximately 13% of total
variance of negative perfectionism is explained by self-alienation. Results
of regression coefficients, also, show that of self-alienations items,
the t of normlessness is statistically significant.
regression self-alienations on positive perfectionism|
regression self-alienations on negative perfectionism|
It means that normlessness
can predict the negative perfectionism positively. Powerlessness and social
isolation couldnt significantly predict the negative perfectionism.
Researches related to employment and unemployment and their impacts on mental
health go back to surveys performed during 1930s about depression disorder.
Eisenberg and Lazarsfeld reviewed the findings of more than 100 studies about
this subject and concluded unemployment cause emotional instability among unemployed
persons. Regarding the importance of subject, current study was performed to
compare the perfectionism and self-alienation between working and non-working
women. The first hypothesis was saying that there is significant difference
between these two groups of women. Results of multivariate analysis of variance
showed that there isnt significant difference between two groups in the
positive perfectionism (F = 0.43, p<0.51). These results conflict with Millers
findings (1996) suggesting that people who establish high standard for themselves
try to reach a high social class. Since, there are stereotypical beliefs and
attitudes about womens employment in our country and regarding the viewpoint
of researchers that perfectionist persons may show their perfectionism only
in some dimensions of their life, therefore it seems that these people set up
their life high standards not in employment but also other values may be considered
Second hypothesis is related to the difference between working and non-working
women in the negative perfectionism. Results of survey showed that two groups
are significantly different in the negative perfectionism (F = 3.85, p<0.05).
Non-working women showed more negative perfectionism than working women. These
results nearly accord with findings of Page et al.
(2008). They discovered that self-critical inclinations presented in negative
perfectionism, play role in the doubt about vocational decision making and job
selection. Doubt about job selection and resignation from job due to fear of
making mistake and being criticized suspect these persons more to unemployment.
Third hypothesis is that there is significant difference between working and
non-working women in the feeling of normlessness and our findings was showing
this significant difference (p<0.002, F = 10.16). Non-working women have
a lower level of education than working women and also they may have lower perceived
life control due to lack of economic independence. Low educational level (Palosuo,
2000) and low perceived life control (Bobak et al.,
1998) are of variables that have relationship with normlessness and then
it can be concluded that these causes can lead into rejection of the majority
rules, societys values and values of cultural majority.
Forth hypothesis is that there is significant difference between working and
non-working women in the feeling of powerlessness and our findings was also
showing this significant difference (p<0.002, F = 10.16). Non-working women
had a higher level of powerlessness feeling than working women. These results
accord with findings of Palosuo (2000) that have demonstrated
economic income and having a job have inverse relationship with despair and
powerlessness. These results, also, accord with findings of Nicol
(2007) that say there is negative relationship between social dominance
orientation and powerlessness. Non-working women may have a weaker independent
role in catching their goals, also in changing the situation and condition of
their life, compared to working women. Regarding the fact that these people
are dependent to their life partner in most situations of life, their powerlessness
can be explained by this dependency.
The last hypothesis was saying that there is significant difference between working and non-working women in the feeling of social isolation and our findings was showing that there isnt significant difference between them (p<0.54, F = 0.38). Firstly, since, women whether working or not, are supported by their family members especially their husband, then it is less probable to feel loneliness. Secondarily, non-working women are members of other unofficial groups like friends group and sport group just as working women who are communicating and cooperating with others in their job environment. Then, membership of both working and non-working women in various groups, results in equal cooperation with others for both of them and then culminates in equal feeling of social isolation.
Results of Pearson correlation showed that positive perfectionism has a significant positive correlation with negative perfectionism and normlessness. However, positive perfectionism has no meaningful correlation with powerlessness and isolation. It seems that, persons who sett up high standards for themselves, to some extent, have self-critical inclinations and deviation from accepted values.
There is, also, significant positive relationship between negative perfectionism and normlessness (r = 0.28). However, this type of perfectionism wasnt related with powerlessness and isolation. A significant positive relationship was observed between items of self-alienation in the range of 0.27-0.41.
Results of regression analysis showed that approximately 15% of total variance
of positive perfectionism is explained by self-alienation that of its items
only powerlessness and normlessness could explain and feeling of isolation has
no role in the positive perfectionism. Results, also, revealed that approximately
13% of total variance of negative perfectionism is explained by self-alienation
that of its items only normlessness could explain this variance. This results
accords with conclusion of Miller (1996) who, is saying
that persons may establish their perfectionistic standards only as a compensation
for their feeling of powerlessness.
There was no significant difference in positive perfectionism and social isolation between two groups. But there were significant differences between two groups at negative perfectionism and normlessness and powerlessness.