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, meaning that it 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. The aim of this review was to examine the association between perfectionism and symptoms of depression, anxiety (including subtypes of general, social and task anxiety), and OCD in adult clinical (i.e., people with a diagnosis of anxiety, depression or OCD), and non-clinical samples.
The review was very large, including 416 studies, amassing 113,118 participants. Perfectionistic concerns had a moderate link with all outcomes in clinical and non-clinical groups. Perfectionistic strivings had significant, although smaller links with symptoms of depression, general anxiety, task anxiety and OCD. No relationship was seen between perfectionistic strivings and social anxiety. Results demonstrate perfectionistic concerns have a stronger relationship with psychological distress than perfectionistic strivings, but strivings are significantly related to distress. Future research should examine the causal relationships between perfectionism dimensions and psychopathology.
Read the full paper here: Callaghan, T., Greene, D., Shafran, R., Lunn, J., & Egan, S. J. (2023). The relationships between perfectionism and symptoms of depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, https://doi.org/ 10.1080/16506073.2023.2211736
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