Background: Adaptive help-seeking is an effective self-regulated learning strategy that can alleviate difficulties students encounter. Research has suggested a high prevalence of perfectionism among higher education students, and indicated that perfectionism can interfere with help-seeking. The aim of this thesis was to map and synthesise the existing research on perfectionism’s relationship with help-seeking in order to advance knowledge and highlight directions for future research.
Method: A systematic literature search was undertaken in April 2020 in the following electronic databases: ERIC, PsychINFO, Web of Science, MEDLINE, Education Research Complete, Open-Grey.eu, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies and ACM Guide to Computing Literature. The PRISMA guidelines were followed during the study selection process. A qualitative content analysis was applied to extract and synthesise data from the 24 included studies.
Findings: The findings suggest that some aspects of the multifaceted perfectionism construct impede help-seeking, while others might facilitate help-seeking. Among the overarching categories of perfectionism, perfectionistic self-presentation displayed the most pervasive links with help-seeking. For perfectionistic strivings, small but noticeable positive links with adaptive outcomes were found, while perfectionistic concerns showed a pattern of small positive links with maladaptive help-seeking outcomes. Other-oriented perfectionism showed both positive and negative links with help-seeking
Conclusion: The findings are in line with previous research, highlighting a need for awareness about the potential barriers that certain perfectionistic tendencies might present to higher education students’ help-seeking. The precise mechanisms that account for the links between different within-combinations of perfectionism and various aspects of help-seeking remain to be determined. More research is needed to ascertain whether, how, and to what degree, the various aspects of perfectionism are related to help-seeking.
Keywords: Help-seeking, self-regulated learning, perfectionism, personality, higher education