Perfectionism has been linked to anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression. Many studies have looked at how perfectionism is linked to these problems. Perfectionism has been described as a ‘transdiagnostic’ factor that cuts across a range of psychological problems. Perfectionism has often been broken down into two main parts: (1) perfectionistic strivings – setting high standards, and (2) perfectionistic concerns – concern over mistakes and worry that others expect you to be perfect. In this review, we summarised across the scientific studies to see how these aspects of perfectionism are linked with anxiety, OCD and depression in young people aged between 6-24 years.
The review included a summary of 121 studies, where young people had an average age of 17.70 years. Perfectionistic concerns had a moderate link with symptoms of anxiety, OCD and depression. Perfectionistic strivings had significant, although smaller links with symptoms of anxiety and OCD. Our findings show that there is a substantial link between perfectionistic concerns and a range of mental health symptoms amongst young people. To a smaller extent, perfectionistic strivings was also linked with symptoms of anxiety and OCD. More research is needed on early interventions for perfectionism to improve youth mental health.
Read the full paper: Lunn, J., Greene, D., Callaghan, T., & Egan, S. J. (2023). Associations between perfectionism and symptoms of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression in young people: A meta-analysis. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1080/16506073.2023.2211736
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