The Relationship Between Perfectionism, Mental Health and Learner Agency and Considerations for Educators (73275)

Session Information: Learning Experience, Student Learning & Learner Diversity
Session Chair: Dora Regoczi

Thursday, 21 September 2023 12:15
Session: Session 2
Room: Nova Icaria
Presentation Type:Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 2 (Europe/Madrid)

Objectives: Perfectionism is a personality orientation associated with negative psychological outcomes (Smith et al., 2022). Recent evidence demonstrates that it is widespread and increasing among university students (Curran & Hill, 2019). Perfectionism likely influences learner agency, the ability of students to control their learning environments. However, no research exists measuring this relationship or the factors that foster student perfectionism. The objectives of this study were to a) identify relationships between perfectionism and learner agency and mental health (MH) and b) explore what personal and organisational factors foster perfectionism.
Methods: An institution-wide online survey measuring perfectionism, MH and learner agency, with open questions to explore students’ perceptions of the influence of perfectionism, was completed by 361 students. Descriptive data, correlations, and thematic analysis informed the relationship between the identified variables. A nominal group (NG) session generated ideas and consensus on perfectionism-fostering factors. Top ranked factors were identified from collated responses.
Results: Perfectionism demonstrated strong relationships with MH measures (p<0.01). Whilst behavioural engagement increased with perfectionism (p<0.001), other learner agency indicators decreased (e.g., equal treatment, feeling able to ask for help; p<0.01). Themes from open-ended data reflected challenges, such as procrastination and fear of failure. The top three ranked factors from NG data were uncertainty regarding feedback, being considered a ‘good student’ and ‘70% is not excellent.’ Conclusion: This study highlights the harmful effects of perfectionism in academic settings and the need for awareness among educators. Strategies for buffering perfectionistic learning environments will be discussed.

Jane McKay, Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom
Laura Blackburn, Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom
Dora Regoczi, Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom
Sivaramkumar Shanmugam, Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom
Kim Williams, Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom

About the Presenter(s)
Dr Jane McKay is a University Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University in United Kingdom

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00