Publication Date



This study explored a motivational approach to examining individuals' perfectionistic strivings, using Self-Determination Theory as the theoretical foundation. Data were collected from 384 undergraduate students. Hierarchical multilevel models were performed to examine whether the association between the tendency to set high personal standards and learning outcomes would be moderated by people's type of motivational regulation. The results indicated that the striving for high standards was associated with less adaptive learning experiences when students experienced controlled regulation around their behaviors. We measured controlled regulation both as a personality orientation, and as students' reasons for participating in each of their classes. We found convergent evidence at both the between-person and the within-person, between-class levels that when students reported low controlled regulation, those who tended to set high standards for themselves reported less anxiety and difficulty in their learning, and more learning progress in their classes than the students who set low standards.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.