The Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (FMPS) is a 35 question self-report measure with four sub-scales of perfectionism:
Setting excessively high standards is the most prominent feature of perfectionism, accompanied by tendencies for overly critical evaluations of one’s own behaviour, expressed in concern for mistakes and uncertainty regarding actions and beliefs.
Perfectionistic beliefs are an important underlying cause of a range of psychopathologies, so this scale can be useful in formulating the underlying causes of a client’s presenting concerns. The FMPS is appropriate for people 15 years and older and is especially useful in the assessment of individuals with body image concerns such as anorexia, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders.
Some individuals take pride in their perfectionistic nature and such beliefs can be a key target for psychological intervention. This scale can be useful in highlighting that perfectionism is in fact unhelpful, and provides clinicians and clients useful benchmarks regarding what “normal” levels of perfectionism are.
The Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale was developed by Dr. Randy Frost and colleagues in 1990 and originally measured six sub-scales. Subsequent evaluation using principal components analysis found that four sub-scales were more appropriate. Stober (1998) validated the scale using 243 university student participants with an average age of 26 years.
The validity of the scale has been widely established through convergence with other clinically significant problems, including anxiety in college students (Frost & Marten, 1990), insomnia (Lundh, Broman, Hetta, & Saboonchi, 1994), social phobia (Juster, Heimberg, Frost, Holt, Mattia, & Faccenda, 1996), obsessive-compulsive symptoms (Rheaume, Freeston, Dugas, Letarte, & Ladouceur, 1995) and anorexia nervosa (Bastiani, Rao, Weltzin, & Kaye, 1995). Perfectionism has been shown to be an underlying trait in many of these presentations.
Results consist of a Total Perfectionism score (total of subscales not including Organization) as well as four subscales.
Scores are also represented as percentiles based on the data from Stober’s (1998) sample of university students. Interpretation of results using percentiles helps contextualise a respondents’ scores compared to typical patterns of responses among healthy individuals. Higher percentiles indicate more problems while a percentile closer to 50 represents average (and healthy) responses. Percentile scores above the 90th percentile are of clinical significance and represent dysfunctional perfectionism.
High scores on the Organization subscale do not contribute to Total Perfectionism and are not intrinsically problematic, but combined with high scores on the other factors may exacerbate dysfunction.
The four subscales are:
Frost, R. O., & Marten, P. A. (1990). Perfectionism and evaluative threat. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 14, 559-572.
Stober, J. (1998). The Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale: More perfect with four (instead of six) dimensions. Personality and Individual Differences, 24(4), 481-491.
Bastiani, A. M., Rao, R., Weltzin, T., & Kaye, W. H. (1995). Perfectionism in anorexia nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 17, 147-152.
Hawkins, C. C., Watt, H. M. G., Sinclair, K. E. (2006). “Psychometric Properties of the Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale With Australian Adolescent Girls”. Educational and Psychological Measurement.
Lundh, L.-G., Broman, J.-E., Hetta, J., & Saboonchi, F. (1994). Perfectionism and insomnia. Scandinavian Journal of Behaviour Therapy, 23, 3-18.
Juster, H. R., Heimberg, R. G., Frost, R. O., Holt, C. S., Mattia, J. I., & Faccenda, K. (1996). Social phobia and perfectionism. Personality and Individual Differences, 21, 403-410.
Rhéaume, J., Freeston, M. H., Dugas, M. J., Letarte, H., & Ladouceur, R. (1995). Perfectionism, responsibility, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33, 785-794.