Perfectionism is the psychological trait of wanting to do things perfectly, that is, without making mistakes. This means that a perfectionists sets very high standards and might suffer from disappointment when not reaching the desired level of performance (Blatt, 1995, reviewed the negative effects of perfectionism).

You can consider perferctionism both as a positive and a negative trait. Positive because it shows that people have a good study or work attitude, but also negative because perfectionism is rarely associated with happiness.

The Short revised almost perfect scale (SAPS) has 8 items scored on a 7-point scale. There are two subscales:

  • Standards: How high are the standards people set for themselves

  • Discrepancy: The mismatch between the standards and the degree to which these standards are reached.

The scores on both these scales range from low (score of 4 points) to high (score of 28 points).

In a study with 749 undergraduate students (Rice et al, 2014), the following averages were found:

SAPS Subscale Possible score range Average score (students)







The subscale Standards is positively related to the personalisty trait conscientiousness (part of various BIG 5 personality scales, which you can measure here with PsyToolkit). Standars is also positive related to student grades.

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The SAPS be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (Rice, Richardson, & Tueller, 2014).


This is a simple scale question.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: agree
- strongly disagree
- disagree
- slightly disagree
- neutral
- slightly agree
- agree
- strongly agree

l: saps
t: scale agree
o: width 50%
q: The following items are designed to measure certain attitudes people have toward
themselves, their performance, and toward others. It is important that your
answers be true and accurate for you. For each item, please
select how much you agree.
- I have high expectations for myself
- Doing my best never seems to be enough.
- I set very high standards for myself.
- I often feel disappointment after completing a task because I know I could have done better.
- I have a strong need to strive for excellence.
- My performance rarely measures up to my standards.
- I expect the best from myself.
- I am hardly ever satisfied with my performance.

l: saps_standards
t: set
- sum $saps.1 $saps.3 $saps.5 $saps.7

l: saps_discrepancy
t: set
- sum $saps.2 $saps.4 $saps.6 $saps.8

l: feedback
t: info
q: The short form of the revised almost perfect scale<br>
has two dimensions: Standards and Discrepancy.<br>
Possible scores run from 4 to 28 (thus midpoint is 12).<br>
Your scores:<br>


  • K. G. Rice, C. M. E. Richardson, & S. Tueller. (2014). The Short Form of the Revised Almost Perfect Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 96(3), 368-379.

  • Psychology Today on perfectionism

  • Blatt, S. J. (1995). The destructivenes of perfectionism - implications for the treatment of depresion. American Psychologist, 50, 1003-1020.