Advanced

A Sisyphean task : Experiences of perfectionism in patients with eating disorders

Petersson, Suzanne LU ; Johnsson, Per LU and Perseius, Kent-Inge (2017) In Journal of Eating Disorders 5(1).
Abstract

Background: Despite the theoretical links between eating disorders and perfectionism, the definition of perfectionism in practice is complicated. The present study explored descriptions and experiences of perfectionism described by a transdiagnostic sample of patients. Methods: In-depth, semi-structured interviews were carried out with 15 patients. The interviews were analyzed by Thematic Analysis. A comparison between the patients' scorings on the Eating Disorder Inventory-Perfectionism scale was also performed. Results: Seven themes were found: The origins of perfectionism, Top performance, Order and self-control, A perfect body, Looking good in the eyes of others, A double-edged coping strategy, and A Sisyphean task. The women in... (More)

Background: Despite the theoretical links between eating disorders and perfectionism, the definition of perfectionism in practice is complicated. The present study explored descriptions and experiences of perfectionism described by a transdiagnostic sample of patients. Methods: In-depth, semi-structured interviews were carried out with 15 patients. The interviews were analyzed by Thematic Analysis. A comparison between the patients' scorings on the Eating Disorder Inventory-Perfectionism scale was also performed. Results: Seven themes were found: The origins of perfectionism, Top performance, Order and self-control, A perfect body, Looking good in the eyes of others, A double-edged coping strategy, and A Sisyphean task. The women in this study did not emphasize weight and body as the main perfectionistic strivings. Core descriptions were instead order, self-control and top performances. All of the participants described the awareness of reaching perfectionism as impossible. Scorings of self-oriented perfectionism was significantly higher compared to socially prescribed perfectionism. No differences in the narratives related to perfectionism scores or eating disorder diagnoses were found. Conclusions: The results showed that psychometric measures do not always capture the patients' definitions of perfectionism, but regarding that perfectionism serves as a means to regulate affects and may lead into an exacerbation of the eating disorder, and the development of obsessive-compulsive symptoms, it is important to investigate the personal definitions of perfectionism.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Eating disorders, Perfectionism, Qualitative research
in
Journal of Eating Disorders
volume
5
issue
1
publisher
BioMed Central
external identifiers
  • scopus:85013989897
  • wos:000395733800001
ISSN
2050-2974
DOI
10.1186/s40337-017-0136-4
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
246ff400-1905-4002-8119-13b7628f4f78
date added to LUP
2017-03-13 10:25:26
date last changed
2017-09-18 11:38:53
@article{246ff400-1905-4002-8119-13b7628f4f78,
  abstract     = {<p>Background: Despite the theoretical links between eating disorders and perfectionism, the definition of perfectionism in practice is complicated. The present study explored descriptions and experiences of perfectionism described by a transdiagnostic sample of patients. Methods: In-depth, semi-structured interviews were carried out with 15 patients. The interviews were analyzed by Thematic Analysis. A comparison between the patients' scorings on the Eating Disorder Inventory-Perfectionism scale was also performed. Results: Seven themes were found: The origins of perfectionism, Top performance, Order and self-control, A perfect body, Looking good in the eyes of others, A double-edged coping strategy, and A Sisyphean task. The women in this study did not emphasize weight and body as the main perfectionistic strivings. Core descriptions were instead order, self-control and top performances. All of the participants described the awareness of reaching perfectionism as impossible. Scorings of self-oriented perfectionism was significantly higher compared to socially prescribed perfectionism. No differences in the narratives related to perfectionism scores or eating disorder diagnoses were found. Conclusions: The results showed that psychometric measures do not always capture the patients' definitions of perfectionism, but regarding that perfectionism serves as a means to regulate affects and may lead into an exacerbation of the eating disorder, and the development of obsessive-compulsive symptoms, it is important to investigate the personal definitions of perfectionism.</p>},
  articleno    = {3},
  author       = {Petersson, Suzanne and Johnsson, Per and Perseius, Kent-Inge},
  issn         = {2050-2974},
  keyword      = {Eating disorders,Perfectionism,Qualitative research},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {02},
  number       = {1},
  publisher    = {BioMed Central},
  series       = {Journal of Eating Disorders},
  title        = {A Sisyphean task : Experiences of perfectionism in patients with eating disorders},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40337-017-0136-4},
  volume       = {5},
  year         = {2017},
}