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Are you a perfectionist?

Media release

Curtin University researchers are calling for volunteers for a study in clinical perfectionism.

The study will investigate the effectiveness of two psychological treatments for clinical perfectionism, a condition characterised by a constant need to reach sometimes unattainably high standards.

Clinical perfectionism is a psychological condition often accompanied by self-criticism, stress, exhaustion and feelings of worthlessness.

According to Dr Sarah Egan, Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, clinical perfectionism can result when individuals allow their strive for perfection to become a problem.

“People with clinical perfectionism set their standards very high and often perceive themselves as not reaching those standards.

“They’re very self-critical and often set unrealistically high standards measured in absolutes – for instance, ‘I have to get 90 in my exam and if I get 89 I’m a complete failure.’”

According to Dr Egan, clinical perfectionism can lead to a range other psychological problems.

“Studies have found that high levels of perfectionism can result in people experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression and eating disorders,” Dr Egan said.

“Treating perfectionism may help to decrease these symptoms.”

The study will see participants treated through either face-to-face cognitive therapy or via a printed self-help version of the therapy. Some participants will receive treatment immediately, while others will be placed on an eight-week waiting list, after which they will receive one of the two treatments.

Results will be recorded via questionnaires that record common measures of perfectionism; stress, anxiety, depression and eating concerns.

Potential volunteers are encouraged to contact Kimberley Hoiles, research assistant at the School of Psychology and Speech Pathology on 9266 3436 or email .


Kristy Jones, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 1930, Mobile: 0402 517 300, Email: