Is perfectionism associated with fatigue?

J Psychosom Res. 1996 Oct;41(4):377-83. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(96)00189-4.


Perfectionism has been implicated as a vulnerability factor in the development of chronic unexplained fatigue. In the present study, different components of fatigue and perfectionism were studied in 121 female nurses. They completed a postal questionnaire assessing current (state) and usual (trait) fatigue, and dimensions of personality including six components of perfectionism. Night-shift work was associated with state, but not trait, fatigue. Negative, but not positive, components of perfectionism were associated with mental trait fatigue in particular, but also with physical trait fatigue. In contrast, the associations with positive perfectionism tended to be inverse. Multiple regression modeling indicated that neuroticism as well as negative perfectionism were separately associated with trait fatigue. We suggest that negative aspects of perfectionism may cause maladaptive coping strategies which predispose individuals to fatigue.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / diagnosis
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Defense Mechanisms*
  • England
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Fatigue / diagnosis
  • Mental Fatigue / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Work Schedule Tolerance