The relation between eating disorders and components of perfectionism

Am J Psychiatry. 2003 Feb;160(2):366-8. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.160.2.366.


Objective: The authors' goal was to explore the relation between perfectionism and psychopathology, including eating disorders.

Method: Using logistic regression, the authors calculated odds ratios for the associations between perfectionism subscale scores and psychiatric disorders in 1,010 female twins who completed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale and participated in diagnostic interviews.

Results: Elevated concern over mistakes was associated with anorexia and bulimia nervosa but not with other psychiatric disorders. Doubts about actions was associated with eating and anxiety disorders. Multivariable models confirmed that higher scores on the subscales for concern over mistakes and doubts about actions were most strongly associated with eating disorders.

Conclusions: The aspect of perfectionism captured by scores on a subscale measuring concern over mistakes may be particularly associated with eating disorders and not generically predictive of psychopathology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Diseases in Twins / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality* / genetics
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Surveys and Questionnaires