Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Roxanne Vandermause


Alicia Hutchings

Umit Tokac

Kamila White


Perfectionism in nursing students is an understudied problem that may affect student and workforce success. Perfectionism has been linked to increased stress and less effective coping styles, as well as depression, anxiety and other psychological alterations. However, it has rarely been studied in nursing students. Studying perfectionism in this population is important because it may increase the likelihood that new nurses will struggle with the stress of practice and it could be a significant factor in early career attrition. The purpose of this descriptive, correlational study was to gain a better understanding of the incidence of perfectionism in a nursing student population, both as a whole and by age group, as well as the relationship between perfectionism, perceived stress, and coping style. In a sample of 184 traditional BSN students from a public, urban University, 106 (57.6%) of the participants were classified as maladaptive perfectionists with a significant decrease in the incidence of maladaptive perfectionism from the younger to the older age groups (X2 = 10.05, p=0.04). There was a significant relationship between perfectionism and perceived stress and a positive correlation between perfectionism, perceived stress and the use of some dysfunctional coping practices such as denial, venting, self-blame and behavioral disengagement. These findings underscore the need for screening and intervention that could mitigate untoward academic and career effects. Implications for research, education, policy, and practice are offered.

Included in

Nursing Commons