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Monday, January 8, 2018

Perfectionism Growing Among College Students

College students have a significantly higher drive for perfection than earlier generations – and it may be taking a big toll on their mental health, according to a new study published in the journal Psychological Bulletin.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 40,000 college students and measured perfectionism, or “an irrational desire to achieve along with being overly critical of oneself and others." 

Specifically, they measured three types of perfectionism: 
  • Self-oriented, or an irrational desire to be perfect
  • Socially prescribed, or perceiving excessive expectations from others
  • Other-oriented, or placing unrealistic standards on others
Between 1989 and 2016, the self-oriented perfectionism score increased by 10 percent; socially prescribed increased by 33 percent and other-oriented increased by 16 percent. 

Study authors cite numerous factors for this rise in perfectionism among millennials, including: 
  • Social media pressures 
  • A drive to earn money
  • Pressure to get a good education and meet lofty career goals
  • A drive to perfect grade point averages
"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," said lead author Thomas Curran, PhD, of the University of Bath, in a statement. 

The result: higher levels of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts than a decade ago.

Perfectionism and Addiction Recovery
Indeed, perfectionism can put your mental health and recovery at risk. Here’s how: 
  • You expect more of yourself, thinking that you don’t need help like others battling substance abuse. 
  • You expect to get sober the first time, making it harder to be patient with the process or bounce back from slip-ups.
  • You expect perfectionism, so you tend to dwell on small mistakes and even mistrust small successes.
  • You place unrealistic expectation on yourself and others, leading to isolation and loneliness.
  • You believe that your addiction and past mistakes make your unlovable or unworthy. 
Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If you are or someone you love is a college student struggling with a mental illness and a substance use disorder, Hope Academy may be the ideal rehab program for you. Our peer-based program provides the safety and support you need to succeed in school and at sobriety. To learn more about our sobriety college, call today: 866-930-4673.

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