Further evidence on the "costs of privilege": Perfectionism in high-achieving youth at socioeconomic extremes

Emily L. Lyman, Suniya Luthar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study involved two academically-gifted samples of 11th and 12th grade youth at the socioeconomic status (SES) extremes; one from an exclusive private, affluent school, and the other from a magnet school with low-income students. Negative and positive adjustment outcomes were examined in relation to multiple dimensions of perfectionism including perceived parental pressures to be perfect, personal perfectionistic self-presentation, and envy of peers. The low-income students showed some areas of relative vulnerability, but when large group differences were found, it was the affluent youth who were at a disadvantage, with substantially higher substance use and peer envy. Affluent girls seemed particularly vulnerable, with pronounced elevations in perfectionistic tendencies, peer envy, as well as body dissatisfaction. Examination of risk and protective processes showed that relationships with mothers were associated with students' distress as well as positive adjustment. Additionally, findings showed links between (a) envy of peers and multiple outcomes (among high SES girls in particular), (b) dimensions of perfectionism in relation to internalizing symptoms, and (c) high extrinsic versus intrinsic values in relation to externalizing symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-930
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Volume51
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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