The Relationship Between Perfectionism and Psychopathology: A Meta-Analysis

J Clin Psychol. 2017 Oct;73(10):1301-1326. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22435. Epub 2016 Dec 27.


Objective: The clinical significance of 2 main dimensions of perfectionism (perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns) was examined via a meta-analysis of studies investigating perfectionism in the psychopathology literature.

Method: We investigated relationships between psychopathology outcomes (clinical diagnoses of depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders; symptoms of these disorders; and outcomes related to psychopathology, such as deliberate self-harm, suicidal ideation, and general distress) and each perfectionism dimension. The relationships were examined by evaluating (a) differences in the magnitude of association of the 2 perfectionism dimensions with psychopathology outcomes and (b) subscales of 2 common measures of perfectionism.

Results: A systematic literature search retrieved 284 relevant studies, resulting in 2,047 effect sizes that were analysed with meta-analysis and meta-regression while accounting for data dependencies.

Conclusion: Findings support the notion of perfectionism as a transdiagnostic factor by demonstrating that both dimensions are associated with various forms of psychopathology.

Keywords: meta-analysis; perfectionism; perfectionistic concerns; perfectionistic strivings; psychopathology.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Perfectionism*
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / physiopathology*