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I recently read the article “Perfectionism Among Young People Significantly Increased Since 1980s, Study Finds”. This article was written January 2nd of this year and focuses on students and their desire to be perfect. The article starts off by addressing the fact that today’s students drive to be perfect in body, mind and career has significantly increased compared to previous generation. According to the American Psychological Association, this goal to be perfect is negatively affecting the mental health of these young students. According to the lead authors of this study on the generational differences of perfectionism, Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill, they define perfectionism as “an irrational desire to achieve along with being overly critical of oneself and others”. They also categorized three different types of perfectionism in their study. The first category included Self-oriented perfectionism which is an irrational desire to be perfect. Then they established socially prescribed perfectionism that included perceiving excessive expectations from others. Finally they included other-oriented perfectionism, this is when you place unrealistic standards on other people. After identifying the different types of perfectionism, they focused on the generational differences in perfectionism. The study found the the more recent generation of students have reported increasingly higher scores for each form of perfectionism when compared to past generations. Next the study moved to the cause for this increase in perfectionism. According to Curran, social media is a huge contributor to perfectionism. Social media pressures young adults to compare themselves to others and makes them dissatisfied with themselves and increases social isolation, which in turn increases their want to perfect themselves. In addition, Curran found that many students’ ambitions to perfect their GPA’s and compare them to their peers is a huge cause of perfectionism. On the topic of schools, many universities encourage competition between their students, which can negatively affect them. The study also found that a desire to earn money, the pressure of a good education, and lofty career goals also attribute to this generations perfectionism. According to Curran “These findings suggest that recent generations of college students have higher expectations of themselves and others than previous generation. Today’s young people are competing with each other in order to meet societal pressures to succeed and they feel that perfectionism is necessary in order to feel safe, socially connected and of worth”. The article ended with the note that this increase in perfectionism among students is greatly affecting the psychological health of students. Higher levels of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts have been recorded in current students compared to decades ago. I chose this article because it is something I can strongly relate to. I often find myself critiquing everything I do and try to make it perfect. Therefore I thought it would be interesting to read more about perfectionism and what may cause it and how common it is. This issue definitely impacts my life. Like I said, I would call myself a perfectionist and often find myself working to make most things perfect. I also found it really interesting to learn about the three types of perfectionism. I always knew about self-oriented perfectionism, but had never really thought much about socially prescribed and other oriented perfectionism before. Although perfectionism seems like it is a pretty harmless thing, it can actually lead to harmful thoughts and behaviors. When someone talks about being a perfectionist it doesn’t often seem like a bad thing. It does have some good qualities, such as it helps you strive to be your best and work hard. But, it can also negatively affect your life. Some people who are perfectionist can find themselves constantly having to make everything perfect or themselves perfect. Sometimes they will compare themselves to other and therefore put themselves down. These individuals then often suffer from things such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts that can greatly affect their lives. Although perfectionism is not the worst thing someone can suffer from, it should not be simply a joking manner. Hopefully this article can help people understand that perfectionism is a serious thing that can cause someone great stress and anxiety.  

Categories: Career


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