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Striving for perfection can take toll on mental health of millennials, finds study

Striving for perfection can take toll on mental health of millennials, finds study

A recent study suggests that millennials are greater perfectionists than previous generations and the quest for being perfect may be taking a heavy toll on their mental health. The study, published in the journal Psychological Bulletin in December 2017, has found that today’s university students are increasingly demanding of themselves and even more demanding of others. They are driven more by the urge to excel in all aspects of life and to achieve perfection of career, mind and body than their forefathers.

Examining differences in perfectionism among various generational groups, two British researchers — lead author Thomas Curran of the University of Bath and his co-author Andrew Hill from York St. John University — concluded that perfectionism includes “an irrational desire to achieve along with being overly critical of oneself and others.” The researchers studied data of 41,641 American, British and Canadian college students, who underwent the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale test for generational changes in perfectionism from late 1980s to 2016.

Both the researchers analyzed and measured three forms of perfectionism — self-oriented, socially prescribed and other-oriented. Their findings indicated that between 1989 and 2016, the self-oriented perfectionism score rose by 10 percent, the other-oriented increased by 16 percent, whereas the socially prescribed perfectionism score went up by 33 percent. The study authors said the surge in perfectionism is being triggered by multiple factors, such as dissatisfaction with their bodies, the drive to make more money, pressure to get better education and qualifications, the desire to set high career objectives and the urge to make it to the top, etc.

“Young people are increasingly setting unrealistic educational and professional goals for themselves. As a result, perfectionism is on the rise among millennials,” said Curran. Data analysis showed in 1976 around 50 percent of high school seniors expected to get a college degree, while in 2008, the numbers shot to more that 80 percent. Curran observed that the younger generations are engaging in constant competition with each other to meet the immense pressures of society and to succeed in life. The youth feel that being perfect is the key to security and high social standing. However, this skyrocketing surge in striving to be perfect has taken a huge toll on the mental and emotional health of students, leading to greater levels of anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies than the previous generations.

Mental health problems are treatable

Mental health problems in the United States are real and more people experience them than one can imagine. They are marked by deviations and anomalies in thinking patterns, behaviors and emotions. When the mercury dips across the country, fearing an outbreak of a running nose and cold, nobody thinks twice about popping a pill to keep that awful cold at bay. On the contrary, there are millions who are affected by a chain of never-ending sorrows and a prolonging sense of despair and dejection and yet carry on as though life is smooth. Hence, the deplorable condition of mental health prevails across the U.S. Around 44 million Americans experience mental health problems in a given year, reports the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). However, it is unfortunate that less than half of them receive professional treatment for their condition.

When wondering where to start with to find help for mental health disorders, one needn’t look further than Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California, which offers a variety of customized therapies to treat mental problems. Clinicians at our world-class mental health treatment centers in California are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatments as well as group psychotherapy based on a patient’s requirements. You may call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives for more information on our evidence-based treatment programs.

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