Genetic and environmental contributions to perfectionism and its common factors

Psychiatry Res. 2015 Dec 30;230(3):932-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.11.020. Epub 2015 Nov 17.


The aims of this study: (1) To evaluate the relative contributions of genetics and environment to perfectionism and it's two constructs: self-oriented, and socially prescribed perfectionism. (2) To clarify genetic and environmental common origins of both personal and social components.

Methods: Participants were 258 pairs of adolescent Spanish twins. Socially prescribed and self-oriented perfectionism were assessed using the perfectionism subscale of the Eating Disorder Inventory.

Statistics: univariate and bivariate twin models, according to sex. Results; Heritability of self-oriented perfectionism was 23% in boys and 30% in girls, and of socially prescribed perfectionism 39% in boys and 42% in girls. Bivariate analysis suggested a common genetic and environmental pathway model. The genetic correlation between both perfectionisms was 0.981 in boys and 0.704 in girls. The non-shared environmental correlation was 0.254 in boys and 0.259 in girls. Conclusions; genetic influences on perfectionism are moderate during adolescence. Our results point toward a shared genetic component underlying both kind of perfectionism. These findings generate doubts about the hypothesis of a leading role of genetics in the pathogenesis of Self-oriented perfectionism and of environment in socially prescribed. The high genetic correlation seems to indicate that self-oriented and socially prescribed are the same dimension of perfectionism.

Keywords: Adolescents; Environment; Genetics; Perfectionism; Twins.

Publication types

  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality / genetics*
  • Self Concept*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Spain
  • Twins*