A new study has found that the tendency to be perfect in both body and mind has increased in younger generations over the last few decades. Researchers also found that perfectionism can have a negative impact on mental health, especially in the so-called millennial generation.
In their study, researchers analyzed the different degrees of perfectionism among several generations. Lead author Dr. Thomas Curran described this as “an irrational desire to achieve along with being overly critical of oneself and others.”
The new research involved data on more than 40,000 college students living in the U.S, U.K., and Canada. Volunteers agreed to answer questions on their propensity for perfectionism under a comprehensive survey called the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, which ran between the late 1980s and 2016.
- Scientists found that there are three categories of perfectionism:
- an irrational desire to be perfect in every aspect of personal life;
- sensing excessive expectations from one’s peers;
- and having unrealistic expectations from others.
The findings were released this week in the journal Psychological Bulletin.
Millennials Striving For Perfectionism More than Older Generations
The research revealed that younger generations had higher scores for each of the three types, compared to the older generations. Over just 25 years, the first type grew by 10% while the other two jumped by 33% and 16%, respectively.
It is unclear what encourages perfectionism among college students. Social media is a big risk factor since it makes the youngsters less happy with their bodies, while Photoshop and other image enhancing techniques force them to have an unrealistic body image. If they fail to achieve these impossible standards, young adults tend to enter social isolation and depression.
Millennials also tend to exhibit these traits in their careers as social media and peer pressure drive them to earn more money and set unrealistic career goals.
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