Three Types of Perfectionism
Thanks to Hewitt and Flett’s scale, and the fact that researchers have been giving students psychological tests since time immemorial, a new report by Thomas Curren from the University of Bath and Andrew Hill from York St. John University was able to look at the last 30 years of perfectionism in the minds of young people. They looked at examples of more than 41,000 American, British, and Canadian students, each of whom took the test between the years 1989 and 2016.
What they found was while socially prescribed perfectionism increased the most and self-oriented perfectionism the least, all three types showed a clear upward trend in recent years. And that could be bad news for the kinds of ideals that our society engenders…
… If each of us is trying our level best to out-perform everybody else, the idea goes, then together we all will become better. To many, it’s a comforting thought. Everybody who is successful in this system is perceived to be so because of their intrinsic merits, perhaps because they worked harder and perhaps because their ideas are just better.