Perfectionism is not really about being perfect, it is more about expecting perfect.
Perfectionists set extremely high standards for themselves, judge their self-worth on whether they achieve those standards, and continue to do this despite ongoing negative impacts on their mood, relationships, and ironically, performance.
Whilst striving for high performance and setting aspirational goals can be very beneficial in the university environment, in perfectionists the standards set are unreasonably high, and the psychological impact of not meeting those standards can be catastrophic. It is not uncommon for perfectionists to become incredibly anxious or depressed in relation to meeting their own expectations.
If this sounds a bit like you, you might be interested to know that Honours Psychology student Enola Kay, under the watchful eye of Professor Tracey Wade, are running an online perfectionism intervention study.
What is the study about?
This study will evaluate the effect patient choice has on the effectiveness of an online intervention in improving perfectionism and related psychological outcomes. It will also investigate self-efficacy in relation to improved treatment outcomes.
Who can participate?
Anyone aged 17 years and older who is fluent in English, and believe they might currently struggle with perfectionism.
What will happen during the study?
You will be asked to complete online questionnaires relating to demographics, perfectionism, depression, anxiety, body image, and self-efficacy. From there you will be randomly assigned to either complete the online intervention modules in a fixed order, or to choose which modules you wish to complete. The online intervention contains eight modules which you will have four weeks to complete. These modules contain a mixture of text, images, and audio based on a cognitive behavioural treatment protocol for perfectionism. After the four weeks, both groups will be asked to complete the same questionnaires. In total, the study will take approximately 5 hours of your time over a 4-week period. In recognition of your time, you will be reimbursed participation credits (Flinders University First-Year Psychology Students) or a book titled Overcoming Perfectionism following the completion of the follow-up questionnaires.
The research will be conducted in three phases as follows:
1. Initial questionnaires (15 minutes) to be completed online
2. Intervention modules and inter-module exercises (30 minutes per module over 4 weeks) to be completed online
3. Follow-up questionnaires (15 minutes) to be completed online at the end of the 4-week period
If you would like to participate or have any further questions about the project, please email the principal researcher on firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can access the Baseline Questionnaire (which also contains more information about the study) via the following link:
The participant information sheet (which has the same basic information) can be accessed by clicking the image below: