ISSN 2079-6617
eISSN 2309-9828
Motivation for the achievement and structure of perfectionism in patients with anxiety disorders

Motivation for the achievement and structure of perfectionism in patients with anxiety disorders

PDF (Rus)

Recieved: 12/04/2018

Accepted: 12/22/2018

Published: 01/30/2019

p.: 86-95

DOI: 10.11621/npj.2018.0408

Keywords: perfectionism; achievement motivation; anxiety; anxiety disorders; Hekhausen TAT; Kholmogorov-Garanyan perfectionism questionnaire; multidimensional Hewitt and Flett perfectionism scale

Available online: 30.01.2019

To cite this article:

Pervicheko, Elena I., Babaev Yury A. . Motivation for the achievement and structure of perfectionism in patients with anxiety disorders. // National Psychological Journal 2018. 4. p.86-95. doi: 10.11621/npj.2018.0408

Copied to Clipboard

Issue 4, 2018

Pervicheko, Elena I. Lomonosov Moscow State University

Babaev Yury A. Lomonosov Moscow State University


Introduction. The relevance of the subject is primarily due to the high frequency of anxiety disorders in the population. According to various schools of psychology and psychotherapy, the motivation of the patient, their deep-seated attitudes and values ​​play a significant role in the emergence and development of anxiety disorders. But nowadays there is a lack of empirical studies that consider achievement motivation and perfectionism in connection with anxiety disorders.

Objective. On the one hand, the study is focused on the relationship between the direction and the achievement motivation in motivational conflicts, and on the other hand, the authors illicit the general level and structural characteristics of perfectionism in people with anxiety disorders.

Procedure. The study involved 21 patients with anxiety disorders undergoing inpatient treatment at the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry, Moscow, Russia, and 20 healthy subjects. In order to measure achievement motivation, the authors used TAT (Thematic Apperception Test) modified by H. Heckhausen (Heckhausen, 1963, 1967; Magomed-Eminov, 1987). In order to identify the degree of manifestation and features of the structure of perfectionism, the Kholmogorova-Garanyan perfectionism questionnaire (Garanyan, Yudeeva, 2008, 2009) and the Hewitt and Flett Multidimensional scale of perfectionism were used (Hewitt, Flett, 1998; Gracheva, 2006). An intergroup comparison was performed in terms of the severity of the characteristics assessed, and also a correlation study of the perfectionism and motivation indicators was conducted in each group.

Results. Compared to healthy individuals, patients with anxiety disorders show a higher level of general perfectionism and socially prescribed perfectionism, as well as reduced achievement motivation. They revealed a greater discrepancy between the motives for achieving success and avoiding failure, which suggests that their activity is directed to the motive of avoidance than to the motive of achievement. The overall level of perfectionism in both groups negatively correlates with the severity of the achievement motive, however, in healthy people, perfectionism is associated with the hope of success, and in patients with anxiety disorders it is associated with the fear of failure.

Conclusion. The results can be used in psychotherapeutic practice treating patients with anxiety disorders. The study gives way for further research on patients with anxiety disorders, depressed patients, etc.

Fig. 1. Indicators of overall motivation and level of perfectionism according to Kholmogorova- Garanyan questionnaire

Table 1. Comparison of patients with anxiety disorders and healthy people according to anxiety, perfectionism and motivation parameters


Anxiety Disorders (n=21)

Control Group (n=20)



Anxiety (Spielberger Scale)




Magomed-Eminov Perfectionism Questionnaire

Self-Focused Perfectionism (SFP)




Outer-Oriented Perfectionism (OOP)




Socially Prescribed Perfectionism (SPP)




Overall level of perfectionism




Kholmogorova- Garanyan Perfectionism Questionnaire

The perception of other people as delegating high expectations




Inflated claims and demands to oneself




Overestimated expectations when targeting the “most successful” pole




Selecting information about own failures and errors




Polarized thinking




General level of perfectionism




ТАТ Heckhausen

Hope of Success (НS)




Fear of Failure (FF)




Overall Motivation (FF+НS)




Discrepancy between hope of success and the fear of failure (НS-FF)





* — Differences between groups are verified (p<0.05);

** — Differences between groups are verified (p<0.01).

Table 2. Perfectionism and achievement motivation correlation in healthy individuals. Significant correlations

Perfectionism Parameter

Hope to Success (НS)

Fear of Failure (FF)

Overall Motivation (FF+НS)

Kholmogorova-Garanyan Perception of others




Kholmogorova-Garanyan Overestimated expectations






Kholmogorova-Garanyan Selecting errors





Kholmogorova-Garanyan Polarized thinking






Kholmogorova-Garanyan Overall level of perfectionism





Table 3. Perfectionism and achievement motivation correlation in patients with anxiety disorders. Significant correlations

Perfectionism Parameter

Hope to Success (НS)

Fear of Failure (FF)

Overall Motivation (FF+НS)

Hewitt. Flett (SPP)





Kholmogorova-Garanyan Perception of others





Kholmogorova-Garanyan Polarized thinking






Kholmogorova-Garanyan Total







Bandelow B., & Michaelis S. (2015). Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century. Dialogues Clin. Neurosci, 17 (3), 327–335.

Barlow D.H. (2002). Anxiety and its disorders: the nature and treatment of anxiety and panic. New York: The Guilford Press, Issue 2.

Beck J.S. (2011). Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Second Edition: Basics and Beyond. The Guilford Press.

Clark D.A., & Beck A.T. (2010). Cognitive therapy of anxiety disorders: science and practice. New York: The Guilford Press.

Fletcher K.L., & Speirs Neumeister K.L. (2012). Research on perfectionism and achievement motivation: implications for gifted students. Psychol. Sch, 49(7), 668–677. doi: 10.1002/pits.21623

Freud S. (1990.) Introduction to psychoanalysis. Moscow, Nauka.

Fromm E. (2007.) «To have» or «to be.» Moscow, AST.

Garanyan N.G. (2010). Perfectionism and hostility as personal factors of depressive and anxiety disorders: Ph.D. in Psychology, thesis. [Moskovskiy nauchno-issledovatel’skiy Institut psikhiatrii]. Moscow.

Garanyan N.G., & Nizovtseva A.A. The structure of the achievement motivation in students with different levels of perfectionism. Retrieved from: (access date: 012/15/2018).

Garanyan N.G., Kholmogorova A.B, & Yudeeva T.Yu. (2001.) Perfectionism, depression and anxiety. [Konsultatsionnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya], 4, 18-48.

Garanyan N.G., & Yudeeva T.Yu. (2008.) Diagnosis of perfectionism in affective spectrum disorders: a guide for physicians. Moscow, FGU «Moskovskiy NII Psikhiatrii Federal’nogo agentstva zdravsotsrazvitiya»».

Garanyan N.G., & Yudeeva T.Yu. (2009.) The structure of perfectionism in patients with depressive and anxiety disorders. [Psikhologicaheskiy zhurnal], 30(6), 93–102.

Gracheva I.I. (2006.) Adaptation of the technique «Multidimensional scale of perfectionism» by P. Hewitt and G. Fletta. [Psikhologicaheskiy zhurnal], 27(6), 73–80.

Handley A.K. et al. (2014). The relationships between perfectionism, pathological worry and generalised anxiety disorder. BMC Psychiatry, 14, 98. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-14-98

Heckhausen H. (1963). Hoffnung Und Furcht in der Leistungsmotivation (Psychologia Universalis Band 6). Meisenheim: Anton Hain.

Heckhausen H. (1967). The Anatomy of achievement motivation. New York, NY: The Academic Press.

Heckhausen H. (2003.) Motivation and activity. SPb Smysl, Vol. 2.

Hewitt P.L. et al. (2003). The interpersonal expression of perfection: Perfectionistic self-presentation and psychological distress. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 84(6), 1303–1325. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.84.6.1303

Hewitt P., & Flett G. (1998). Dimensions of perfectionism. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 7, 21–45.

Hewitt P.L., & Flett G.L. (1991). Perfectionism in the self and social contexts: conceptualization, assessment, and association with psychopathology. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol, 60(3), 456–470. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.60.3.456

Horney K. (1994). The Neurotic Personality of Our Time. W.W. Norton & Company.

Kawamura K.Y. et al. (2001). Perfectionism, Anxiety, and Depression: Are the Relationships Independent? Cognit. Ther. Res, 25(3), 291–301. doi: 10.1023/A:1010736529013

Kessler R.C. et al. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry, 62(6), 617–627. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.62.6.617

Khanin Yu.L. (1976.) A brief guide to the use of a scale of reactive and personal anxiety by Ch.D. Spielberger. Leningrad, LNIITEK.

Kholmogorova A.B. (2011.) Integrative psychotherapy of affective spectrum disorders. Moscow, Medpraktika-M.

Kholmogorova, A. B., & Garanyan, N. G. (2004.) Narcissism, perfectionism and depression. [Konsul’tativnaya psihologiya i psihoterapiya], 1, 18–35.

Kohut H. (2002.) Restoration of the self. Moscow, Kogito Tsenter.

Leontiev A.N. (1971.) Needs, motives and emotions. Moscow, Izdatel’stvo Moskovskogo Universiteta.

Leontiev A.N. (1975.) Activity Consciousness. Personality. Moscow, Politizdat.

Magomed-Eminov M.Sh. (1987.) Motivation to achieve: structure and mechanisms:Ph.D. in Psychology, thesis. [MGU im. M.V. Lomonosova]. Moscow.

May R. (2012). The Meaning Of Anxiety. Literary Licensing, LLC.

McWilliams N. (2011). Psychoanalytic Diagnosis, Second Edition. Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process. The Guilford Press.

Nasledov A.D., & Kiseleva L.B. (2016.) Adaptation of the “perfectionism questionnaire” for diagnosing perfectionist attitudes of first-year students of technical universities. [Vestnik SPbU]. Series 16, 3, 44–64.

Nikolaev V.V. (2009.) Psychosomatics: corporality and culture: Textbook. Moscow, Akademicheskiy Proekt.

Pirbaglou M. et al. (2013). Perfectionism, anxiety, and depressive distress: evidence for the mediating role of negative automatic thoughts and anxiety sensitivity. J Am. Coll. Health, 61(8), 477–483. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2013.833932

Sokolova E.T., & Nikolaev V.V. (1995.) Personality features in borderline disorders and somatic diseases. Moscow, SvR-Argus.

Sookman D., & Leahy R.L. (2009). Treatment Resistant Anxiety Disorders. Resolving Impasses to Symptom Remission. Eds. Sookman, & R.L. Leahy. New York: Routledge.

Spielberger C.D., Gorsuch R.L., Lushene R., Vagg P.R., & Jacobs, G.A. (1983). Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Waal M.W.M. de et al. (2004). Somatoform disorders in general practice: prevalence, functional impairment and comorbidity with anxiety and depressive disorders. Br. J. Psychiatry, 184, 470–476. doi: 10.1192/bjp.184.6.470

Wells A. (2011). Metacognitive Therapy for Anxiety and Depression. The Guilford Press.

Yasnaya V.A., & Enikolopov S.N. (2007.) Perfectionism: the history of the study and the current state of the problem. [Voprosy psychology], 4, 157–167.

Yasnaya V.A., & Enikolopov S.N. (2013.) Modern models of perfectionism [Psikhologicheskie issledovaniya], 6(29). Retrieved from: (access date: 12/15/2018).

Zeigarnik B.V. (2014.) Pathopsychology: textbook. Moscow, Yurayt, Vol. 3.

Zinchenko Yu.P., Pervichko E.I., & Ostroumova O.D. (2017.) Factors affecting the formation of burnout syndrome in patients with arterial hypertension in the workplace. [Ratsional’naya farmakoterapiya v kardiologii], 13(2), 213–220. doi: 10.20996/1819-6446-201
To cite this article:

Pervicheko, Elena I., Babaev Yury A. . Motivation for the achievement and structure of perfectionism in patients with anxiety disorders. // National Psychological Journal 2018. 4. p.86-95. doi: 10.11621/npj.2018.0408

Copied to Clipboard