24 July 2024
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Understanding Self-Critical Perfectionism Among Students

Self-critical perfectionism is a significant factor affecting the well-being of students, even as early as in lower secondary school. A recent study conducted among ninth-graders in Swedish-speaking areas of Finland sheds light on the different perfectionistic profiles that students exhibit and how these profiles are linked to their psychological well-being. This study, a collaboration between the University of Eastern Finland and Åbo Akademi University, explored the nuances of perfectionism among young individuals and its impact on their emotional health.

Perfectionism: A Double-Edged Sword

Perfectionism is often characterized by high standards, a drive for excellence, and a constant pursuit of improvement. However, it also comes with a negative side, involving concerns over performance and dissatisfaction with one’s achievements. The study identified four distinct perfectionistic profiles among the students: moderately concerned, perfectionists, ambitious, and non-perfectionists. Each profile had varying levels of strivings and concerns, showcasing the complexity of perfectionism among students.

The Impact on Well-Being

The study revealed that perfectionistic profiles were relatively stable among students, with around 80% maintaining the same profile over the school year. However, transitions between profiles were also observed, with some students shifting from moderately concerned to non-perfectionist or perfectionist, and vice versa. These transitions were linked to changes in the students’ well-being, with certain profiles showing higher levels of burnout, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Notably, both ambitious and perfectionist students, characterized by high concerns, exhibited poorer well-being compared to non-perfectionists.

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Implications for Student Support

Understanding the impact of self-critical perfectionism on students’ well-being is crucial for educators and mental health professionals. The findings of the study emphasize the need to address students’ self-criticism and dissatisfaction with their achievements to promote better emotional health. High goals and engagement, while important, do not guarantee well-being if students are overly concerned about their performance. By recognizing the different perfectionistic profiles and their associations with well-being, schools can tailor support systems to help students navigate their perfectionistic tendencies in a healthy manner.

Self-critical perfectionism is a complex phenomenon that affects students’ well-being from an early age. By identifying the different perfectionistic profiles and understanding their implications for emotional health, educators and caregivers can provide targeted support to help students thrive academically and psychologically. It is essential to foster a culture that values progress over perfection and encourages students to prioritize self-care and mental well-being alongside their academic pursuits.

Links to additional Resources:

1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S019188692200040X 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8210349/ 3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.832992/full

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Perfectionism, Well-being, Emotional health

Perfectionism
Perfectionism may refer to: Perfectionism (psychology), a personality trait Perfectionism (philosophy), a persistence of will Christian perfection, a doctrine taught in Methodism and Quakerism Perfectionist movement; see Oneida Community, a Christian sect Perfectionist (album), by Natalia Kills Mr. Perfectionist, nickname of Indian actor Amir Khan (born 1965)
Read more: Perfectionism

Well-being
Well-being, or wellbeing, also known as wellness, prudential value, prosperity or quality of life, is what is intrinsically valuable relative to someone. So the well-being of a person is what is ultimately good for this person, what is in the self-interest of this person. Well-being can refer to both positive...
Read more: Well-being

Mental health
Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being, influencing cognition, perception, and behavior. According to World Health Organization (WHO), it is a "state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute...
Read more: Mental health

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