What kinds of problems is perfectionism associated with?
There are four broad categories of problems that research has shown perfectionism to be associated with:
- Psychological problems: including depression, suicide behaviors, anxiety, self-esteem problems, several personality disorders, eating disorders including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
- Relationship problems:including decreased marital satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, difficulties with intimacy, anger, and interpersonal closeness.
- Achievement problems: such as procrastination, writing difficulties, writers block, and poor academic performance, self-handicapping (i.e., where individuals spend time finding excuses for poor performance rather than preparing for a performance), and job stress.
- Physical health problems: such as headaches, increased stress hormones, sleep problems, and heart rate reactivity.
In addition to these areas we have found that perfectionistic behavior also influences whether people will seek help for difficulties they are experiencing. For example, some dimensions of perfectionism are associated with fears of seeking help for psychological problems and with negative attitudes toward seeking help for problems.