Perfectionism, Depression, and Self-Esteem: A Comparison of Asian and Caucasian Americans from a Collectivistic Perspective

Open Access
Wang, Kenneth T.
Graduate Program:
Counseling Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
October 22, 2007
Committee Members:
  • Robert B Slaney, Committee Chair
  • Kathleen Bieschke, Committee Member
  • Hoi Kin Suen, Committee Member
  • Aaron Lee Pincus, Committee Member
  • depression
  • collectivism
  • Asian
  • perfectionism
  • self-esteem
This study examined perfectionism from both an individual’s perspective and their perceived level of perfectionism from their family. Collectivistic values were measured to further examine how these values moderate the effects of personal and family perfectionism on depression and self-esteem. Samples of Asians/Asian-Americans and Caucasian-Americans were be used to examine how individual and family perfectionism are differentially related to self-esteem and depression for these two groups. The relationships between the study variables were examined through path analysis. The hypothesis of family perfectionism having a stronger relationship to self-esteem and depression for Asians/Asian-Americans than for Caucasian-Americans was not supported. Personal perfectionism did not have a stronger relationship to self-esteem and depression for Caucasian-Americans than for Asians/Asian-Americans. Although collectivism was expected to be a moderator in the relationships of family perfectionism with depression, self-esteem, and personal perfectionism, Caucasian-Americans and Asians/Asian-Americans did not differ on their Collectivism scores. The results questioned the notion of whether Asian-Americans are really more collectivistic than Caucasian-Americans or the validity of Triandis’ (1995) Individualism-Collectivism Scale. This study provided additional support for the psychometric properties of the Almost Perfect Scale-Revised and Family version (APS-R, APS-F). The results also provided strong support for Asian-Americans reported higher Personal and Family Discrepancy levels than Caucasian-Americans, which is consistent with past studies. There seems to be a pattern of Asian-Americans reporting higher scores on items/scales that describe maladaptive aspects of mental health, which is worth further exploration. Limitations of this study and directions for future studies are discussed.