College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-24-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Antonio Polo, PhD

Second Advisor

Verena P. Graupmann, PhD


Interpersonal aspects of perfectionism, particularly perfectionistic self-presentation, have been identified as specific vulnerability factors in the development of depressive disorders during the early adolescent years. The Perfectionistic Social Disconnect Model (PSDM) offers a theoretical framework explaining the relationship between perfectionistic self-presentation (PSP) and depressive disorders. The PSDM suggests that perfectionistic self-presentation leads to depressive symptoms indirectly through interpersonal problems and social disconnection. While previous studies have supported the hypothesized role of social disconnection as a mediator in the relation between perfectionistic self-presentation and suicidal ideation, no studies have explored the role that interpersonal problems play in the model. Furthermore, the generalizability of the model has not been established for community and ethnic minority samples. The present study addresses these gaps by more fully evaluating the PSDM, including the hypothesized interpersonal problems components, as indicated by symptoms of social anxiety, and the social disconnection components, as indicated by loneliness, with depressive symptoms as the outcome variable. The sample includes 289 ethnic minority youth in the 5th, 6th, and 7th grades in three public middle schools in the Chicago area. Mediational analyses show that, as predicted, social anxiety explains the relationship between both PSP and loneliness and PSP and depression. Moreover, results indicate that loneliness mediates the relation between PSP and depression. Support for serial mediation was also found, suggesting that the relationship between PSP and youth depression is mediated sequentially through both social anxiety and loneliness. The serial mediation model, however, was only supported for the Latino subsample, and not for the African American subsample, as revealed by exploratory analyses. These present findings indicate that different ethnic groups may be differentially affected by PSP. Findings also suggest that social anxiety may be an important target in the prevention of depressive disorders in adolescence.

SLP Collection