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Millennials Strive for Perfection and Suffer from Perfectionism?

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By: Sean Rossman – usatoday.com – January 4, 2018

College students today strive for perfection more than previous generations and it could be damaging to their mental health.

That’s what two British researchers found in an analysis of nearly 42,000 college students from the United States, Canada and Britain, what they believe is the first study of the generational differences in perfectionism.

Lead author Thomas Curran of the University of Bath and co-author Andrew Hill of York St. John University describe perfectionism as “an irrational desire to achieve along with being overly critical of oneself and others.” In their study, published Dec. 28 in the journal Psychological Bulletin, college students from 1989 to 2016 took a test to measure self-oriented, other-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism.

Modern-day students, the study found, display more characteristics of three types of perfectionism. The most drastic increase was attributed to perceived social expectations.
The more recent students scored higher in all three forms of perfectionism. Between 1989 and 2016, the scores for socially prescribed perfectionism — or perceiving the excessive expectations of others— increased by 33%. Other-oriented expectations — putting unrealistic expectations on others — went up 16%, and self-oriented perfectionism — our irrational desire to be perfect — increased 10%.

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Source: Millennials strive for perfectionism more than past generations, study says.