Are Perfectionistic Standards Associated with Burnout? Multidimensional Perfectionism and Compassion Experiences Among Professional MFTs

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Child and Family Studies


The current study addressed the role that perfectionism plays among professionals in this field of marriage and family therapy (MFT). Specifically, this study provides information about PS (personal standards) perfectionism and EC (evaluative concerns) and their relationship with both compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue. The sample included 247 marriage and family therapists who answered demographic questions along with completing the professional quality of life scale (ProQOL; as reported by Stamm, B. H. (2009). Professional Quality of Life: Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Version 5 (ProQOL). Retrieved from http://www.proqol.org/ProQol_Test.html; Stamm in The concise ProQOL manual, ProQOL.org, 2010;) and the multidimensional perfectionism scale (MPS; Hewitt and Flett, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 60:456–470, 1991). Results indicated three significant findings: (1) higher levels of both self-oriented and socially oriented perfectionism are correlated with higher levels of both burnout and secondary traumatic stress; (2) as years of work as an MFT increase, level of burnout decreases; and (3) women demonstrated statistically significantly higher scores in PS perfectionism than men. Limitations, implications, and future directions are discussed.

Publication Title

Contemporary Family Therapy

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