So last semester, during our Intro to Research class, I started reading more about Perfectionism and I talked a little bit about how I am fascinated by it within my presentation/brainstorming session at the end of the semester; especially this idea of neurotic or “mal-adaptive” perfectionism (Pirbaglou, M, Cribbie, R., Irvine, J., Radhu, N., Vora, K, & Ritvo, P., 2013). I recently read an article/study titled Perfectionism, Anxiety, and Depressive Distress: Evidence for the Mediating Role of Negative Automatic Thoughts and Anxiety Sensitivity by Pirbaglou, Cribbie, Irvine, Radhu, Vora, and Ritvo (2013) which really piqued my interest. To summarize the study, the authors found that there is support for the ideation that “mal-adaptive” perfectionism is linked with depressive and anxiety type disorders; particularly when students are predisposed to anxiety and/or depressive tendencies.
From a personal standpoint, I know that I have perfectionistic tendencies, as I’m sure most of us do and/or recognize that within ourselves. While I recognize these characteristics within myself, I am often left thinking what can I do combat these feelings of needing to be perfect? I also wonder where I go this idea that being perfect is the only way to be? Has it been there forever? I don’t remember feeling this way as a child or even a young adult; but now as an adult I feel more inclined to gravitate toward these feelings. The majority of the research I have done has linked perfectionism to anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2016), 18 percent of the adult population suffer from Anxiety type disorders and it is “the most common mental illness in the U.S.” So with statistics that significant for the adult population, can you imagine what this looks like for our student population (i.e., students 17 years old and younger)? With the rate of anxiety and depression type disorders affecting a large part of the population, this really has me thinking about ways in which mental health support can be addressed in schools. Typically, we notice and/or refer to students with externalizing behaviors (i.e., ADHD, conduct disorders, etc.) as our behavior kids and do not necessarily give the same support or attention to our students who have internalizing behaviors. Just some food for thought!
Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2016). Facts and statistics. Retrieved from https://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics.
Pirbaglou, M, Cribbie, R., Irvine, J., Radhu, N., Vora, K, & Ritvo, P. (2013). Perfectionism, anxiety, and depressive distress: Evidence for the mediating role of negative automatic thoughts and anxiety sensitivity. Journal of American College Health, 61(8), 477-483.