The roles of persistence and perseveration in psychopathology
Serpell, L., Waller, G., Fearon, P. and Meyer, C. (2009) The roles of persistence and perseveration in psychopathology. Behavior Therapy, 40 (3). pp. 260-271. ISSN 0005-7894
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.beth.2008.07.001
Two constructs were hypothesized to be of importance in psychological disorders: persistence (the ability to keep going to reach a goal, even when the task is difficult or drawn out) and perseveration (the tendency to continue a behavior, even when it ceases to be effective or rewarding). These are contrasted with perfectionism (having high standards for oneself or others). A measure was developed to address these constructs (the Persistence, Perseveration and Perfectionism Questionnaire; PPPQ). The PPPQ was administered to 325 nonclinical participants, alongside a measure of psychological disturbance. Factor analysis resulted in a 22-item version of the measure, consisting of subscales with good psychometric properties corresponding to the 3 theoretical constructs. Persistence was associated with lower levels of psychopathology, whereas perseveration was associated with higher levels of psychopathology. Perfectionism was weakly associated with psychopathology. Further work is needed to develop these constructs with clinical groups, but the findings support the hypothesis that persistence is an adaptive construct whereas perseveration is maladaptive.