- An alarming and upward trend in perfectionistic behaviours among young people has been highlighted in research by the American Psychological Association.
- According to the research, the number of millennials suffering with mental health issues such as anorexia, anxiety, and depression has reached a record high.
- The data suggests that our obsession with perfectionism is even leading to increased rates of suicide.
According to research published in the American Psychological Association (APA), there’s an alarming and increasing trend in the number of young people suffering from perfectionism — and according to the research, it’s leading to soaring rates of depression and suicide.
It appears this phenomenon is unique to millennials, who are under immense pressure from always being “sifted, sorted and ranked” — in exams, job performance assessments, or on social media, where they feel compelled to curate a perfect life.
Because the modern world equates performance, status and image with usefulness, millennials feel they must outperform their peers in order to show their value.
As a result, they resort to perfectionism, doling out harsh self-criticism. When they don’t receive others’ approval, they experience “psychological turmoil”, researchers said.
Aside from mental health problems such as depression and anorexia nervosa, one study published in the Journal of Personality suggests perfectionism can be a factor in suicide – the rate of which has spiked among millennials – and another study by researchers from Trinity Western University in British Columbia suggested it could even contribute to premature death.
The two leading researchers involved with the APA’s study, Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill, said: “Young people brood chronically about how they should behave, how they should look, or what they should own.”
They added that those who fail to keep up believe that “their inferiority reflects some personal weakness or flaw”.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.
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