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- The Perfectionist and College Life: A Possible Road to an Eating Disorder
Martha Stewart once described herself to Oprah Winfrey as a "maniacal perfectionist. Exceptionally talented people are also often perfectionists. Many individuals now widely regarded as geniuses were obsessive about the quality of their work. In the book Isaac Newton's Natural Philosophy , it is said that " Newton , perhaps because of a basic ambivalence between wanting his discoveries to be known and his fear of criticism, tended to be fussy about his publications. Whiteside likewise notes Newton's "usual perfectionist manner".
Other highly celebrated figures who were perfectionists include Filippo Brunelleschi ,  Leonardo da Vinci ,   Nicolaus Copernicus ,  Ludwig van Beethoven ,   Gustave Flaubert ,   Johannes Brahms ,   Franz Kafka ,  Stanley Kubrick ,   Andrei Tarkovsky ,   Brian Wilson ,   and Steve Jobs ,   all of whom have been considered to be among the most central figures in their respective fields' histories.
In its pathological form, perfectionism can be damaging. It can take the form of procrastination when used to postpone tasks and self-deprecation when used to excuse poor performance or to seek sympathy and affirmation from other people. These, together or separate, are self-handicapping strategies perfectionists may use to protect their sense of self-competence. Perfectionism has been associated with numerous other psychological and physiological complications as well.
Perfectionism is increasingly being seen as a risk factor for suicide that has a double edged sword. The tendency of perfectionists to have excessively high expectations of self and to be self-critical when their efforts do not meet the standard they have established combined with their tendency to show a "perfect face" to the world increases their risk of suicide ideation while decreasing the likelihood they will seek help when they should. In Suicide Statistics found that suicide was 10th leading cause of overall death with firearms being accounted for Men were 3.
Mood can affect the risk of suicide such as perfectionism or Depression. Perfectionism is one of many suicide predictors that affect a person negatively with stress and suicide ideation. Perfectionism has been linked with anorexia nervosa in research for decades. Researchers in described the behavior of the average anorexic person as being "rigid" and "hyperconscious", observing also a tendency to "neatness, meticulosity, and a mulish stubbornness not amenable to reason [which] make her a rank perfectionist". It is felt before the onset of the eating disorder, generally in childhood,  during the illness,  and also, after remission.
Because of its chronicity, those with eating disorders also display perfectionistic tendencies in other domains of life than dieting and weight control. Over-achievement at school, for example, has been observed among anorexics,    as a result of their over-industrious behavior. Those who scored a normal range of perfectionism were able to have a faster recovery rate than patients who scored high in perfectionism.
Perfectionism often shows up in performance at work or school, neatness and aesthetics, organization, writing, speaking, physical appearance, and health and personal cleanliness. This can lead to depression , social alienation , and a greater risk of workplace "accidents".
According to C.
Allen, in intimate relationships, unrealistic expectations can cause significant dissatisfaction for both partners. In a different occupational context, athletes may develop perfectionist tendencies. Optimal physical and mental performance is critical for professional athletes, which are aspects that closely relate to perfectionism. Although perfectionist athletes strive to succeed, they can be limited by their intense fear of failure and therefore not exert themselves fully or feel overly personally responsible for a loss.
Perfectionism sheds light on people's desire for structure and guidance. They tend to work well in structured environments with explicit instructions. Because perfectionists focus on concrete aspects of a task, they may be inflexible to change and lack creativity if problems arise.
The Complete Guide to Overcoming Eating Disorders, Perfectionism and Low Self-Esteem (ebook bundle)
This can pose a problem when an unforeseen situation arises. While perfectionism has played a major role in the achievements of many highly accomplished historical figures, there have been examples of extreme perfectionism leading important thinkers to not release their works and thus fail to have the direct influence on their field s that they could have had. Historian Eric Temple Bell said of Carl Friedrich Gauss , for example, that if the mathematician had published all his discoveries in a timely manner, he would have advanced mathematics by 50 years. Perfectionists can suffer from anxiety and low self-esteem.
Perfectionism is a risk factor for obsessive compulsive disorder , obsessive compulsive personality disorder , eating disorders , social anxiety , social phobia , body dysmorphic disorder , workaholism , self harm , substance abuse , and clinical depression as well as physical problems like chronic stress , and heart disease. In addition, studies have found that people with perfectionism have a higher mortality rate than those without perfectionism. Therapists [ who?
They encourage clients to set realistic goals and to face their fear of failure. Since perfectionism is a self-esteem issue based on emotional convictions about what one must do to be acceptable as a person, negative thinking is most successfully addressed in the context of a recovery process which directly addresses these emotional convictions.
According to Arnold Cooper, narcissism can be considered as a self-perceived form of perfectionism — "an insistence on perfection in the idealized self-object and the limitless power of the grandiose self. These are rooted in traumatic injuries to the grandiose self. Narcissists often are pseudo-perfectionists and require being the center of attention and create situations where they will receive attention. This attempt at being perfect is cohesive with the narcissist's grandiose self-image.
Perfectionism is one of Raymond Cattell 's 16 Personality Factors. In the Big Five personality traits , perfectionism is an extreme manifestation of conscientiousness and can provoke increasing neuroticism as the perfectionist's expectations are not met. Maladaptive perfectionism is more similar to neuroticism while adaptive perfectionism is more similar to conscientiousness. The latter positively corresponds with life satisfaction , self-esteem , secure attachment , and cohesive self-development. A study found that athletes with a respect and love for themselves "basic self-esteem" exhibit more positive patterns of perfectionism, whereas individuals who have a self-esteem that is dependent on competence aspects "earning self-esteem" show more negative perfectionism.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to successfully help perfectionists in reducing social anxiety, public self-consciousness, obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD behaviors, and perfectionism.
Acceptance-based behavior therapy ABBT was demonstrated to have a major contribution to treat perfectionism from increasing awareness, increasing acceptance, and living a meaningful life. This approach has been shown to be effective six months post to the therapy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Personality trait characterized by a person's striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards. Not to be confused with Perfectionism philosophy. This article needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources.
Please review the contents of the article and add the appropriate references if you can. Unsourced or poorly sourced material may be challenged and removed. November Journal of Personality Assessment. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. April Psychological Bulletin.
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Roeper Review. Psychology: A Journal of Human Behavior. Psychological Assessment. Personality and Social Psychology Review. American Journal of Psychotherapy. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing. Reflections on the psychology of perfectionism and the sociology of science". The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education. XI 4 : — Personality and Individual Differences. Cognitive Therapy and Research. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Archived from the original on 12 December Retrieved 3 March Taris, Ilona van Beek, Wilmar B.
Schaufeli: "Why do perfectionists have a higher burnout risk than others? The mediational effect of workaholism". Romanian Journal of Applied Psychology , , Vol.
The Perfectionist and College Life: A Possible Road to an Eating Disorder
Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development. International Journal of Eating Disorders. Psychological Reports. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.