Perfectionism on the rise: study
A study co-authored by a Canadian psychologist finds perfectionism has risen substantially from 1990 to 2015, with millennials struggling more than previous generations.
The work was published in the Personality and Social Psychology Review. The analysis involved 77 studies and nearly 25,000 participants, ranging in age from 15 to 49.
One of the study’s authors tells CTV News the finding is concerning.
“We know that perfectionism is robustly linked to depression, to anxiety, to suicide, to bulimia, to anorexia and to a host of other problems,” says Dr. Simon Sherry, a Halifax-based psychologist with Dalhousie University.
Students at the University of Victoria aren’t surprised by the results.
“Especially with competition in jobs and school these days, it definitely feels like everybody is always doing better than you. So then you have to be upping your game as well,” says biology student Maia McLellan.
For Chris Cruse, his “obsession” surrounds good grades. “Anything below a B really won’t cut it,” he feels.
Sherry says the study found two main factors responsible for the increase in perfectionism: Competitive parents and socio-cultural pressures, like idealized images on social media.
UVic’s Technology and Society Program director reminds social media users that hundreds of pictures are sometimes taken before one picture is posted.
“It used to be that your average person in the West is bombarded by about 2,000 to 2,500 ads a day, but thanks to social media it’s just increased. So we have all these messages telling us how we are imperfect,” says Janni Aragon.
She recommends temporary breaks from social media, while others also suggest talking to someone if you’re struggling with perfectionism.