The Role Of Perfectionism In Adolescents

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Introduction
Perfectionism in adolescents has become a concern for many adults and school professionals working with adolescents. Learning how to work with adolescents who inherit some perfectionistic characteristics begins with how one describes perfectionism. Counseling students with perfectionism can become increasingly difficult if we are unable to understand the path from which perfectionism comes. Is this perfectionism innate and personally driven or is it driven by outside forces including peers, teachers, or parents? The way perfectionism affects each student can be different depending on the force in which perfectionism is driven from. In order to effectively work with or counsel a student with perfectionism, it would be beneficial
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Bento et al. (2010) did a study on Portuguese adolescents used Portuguese version of the Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale and the Eating Attitudes Test to find relationships between eating behavior and perfectionism for females and males. Overall, the results indicate a high association between perfectionism and abnormal eating behavior in both gender does exist. More in depth research shows that self-oriented perfectionism and abnormal eating behaviors are more significant among female adolescents than for male adolescents. However, socially prescribed perfectionism is highly correlated with abnormal eating behaviors for both males and females as opposed to self-oriented perfectionism (Bento et al., 2010). One of the subscales for the Eating Attitudes Test is the Drive for Thinness. Drive for Thinness is described as the need to be slim and fit, including bulimic and anorexic tendencies. This subscale was the only subscale that showed a significant relationship between perfectionism and abnormal eating behaviors among male adolescents as well as female adolescents. The results of this study and other studies looking at the same relationship between eating behavior and perfectionism implicate an interconnection between perfectionism and the possibility of an eating disorder. This study and other …show more content…
Gnika, Ashby, & Noble (2012) study’s results were similar to previous research regarding differences among adaptive perfectionism, maladaptive perfectionism, and non-perfectionism. However, this study looked at the coping mechanisms that are common with each of the types of perfectionism. Maladaptive perfectionists are more likely to use coping measures that may be perceived as unhealthy including distancing, escaping/avoidance measures, or accepting responsibility. Participants with adaptive perfectionism were more likely to seek out social support than those with maladaptive perfectionism or the nonperfectionists. This study also points out many implications for counselors working with those who may be identified as being perfectionists. Counselors should not assume that all characteristics of perfectionism is problematic because some people with perfectionism are more likely to use helpful coping mechanism and have less anxiety than others who also have perfectionistic qualities or those who are classified as non-perfectionists (Gnika, Ashby, & Noble, 2012). When working with maladaptive perfectionist clients, counselors may want to individualize interventions to minimize self-blame or self-responsibility due to the heightened coping mechanism of self-blame that maladaptive perfectionist take part in.

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