Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy

Department

Muskie School of Public Service

First Advisor

Catherine Fallona

Second Advisor

Julie Canniff

Third Advisor

Jean Whitney

Keywords

Feeling smart, high personal standards, non-cognitive traits

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to describe a doctoral research study designed to explore the nature of perfectionism and middle school student achievement. Perfectionism is currently perceived as a multi-dimensional construct with both adaptive and maladaptive features. This qualitative research study focuses on the views of nine seventh grade participants who were identified as adaptive or maladaptive perfectionists in a survey of students in one seventh grade cohort using the Almost Perfect Scale-Revised (Slaney, Mobley, Trippi, Ashby, & Johnson, 1996). Each of the participants met with the researcher and completed three individual interviews and two focus group sessions. Data gathered from those meetings were analyzed to answer the following questions: What are the traits of middle school students who are identified as demostrating adaptive perfectionism and maladaptive perfectionism? How do middle school students who are identified as demonstrating adaptive or maladaptive perfectionism view their academic achievement? And, how do middle school students who are identified as demonstrating adaptive or maladaptive perfectionism perceive the impact of parents, teachers and peers on their academic achievement?

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