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A sisyphean task: experiences of perfectionism in patients with eating disorders
Kalmar county council, Sweden;Lund university, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4811-2090
Lund university, Sweden.
Red Cross University College, Sweden.
2017 (English)In: Journal of Eating Disorders, E-ISSN 2050-2974, Vol. 5, no 3, p. 1-11Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Despite the theoretical links between eating disorders and perfectionism, the definition of perfectionismin practice is complicated. The present study explored descriptions and experiences of perfectionism described by atransdiagnostic sample of patients.

Methods: In-depth, semi-structured interviews were carried out with 15 patients. The interviews were analyzed byThematic Analysis. A comparison between the patients’ scorings on the Eating Disorder Inventory-Perfectionism scalewas also performed.

Results: Seven themes were found: The origins of perfectionism, Top performance, Order and self-control, A perfectbody, Looking good in the eyes of others, A double-edged coping strategy, and A Sisyphean task. The women inthis study did not emphasize weight and body as the main perfectionistic strivings. Core descriptions were instead order,self-control and top performances. All of the participants described the awareness of reaching perfectionismas impossible. Scorings of self-oriented perfectionism was significantly higher compared to socially prescribedperfectionism. No differences in the narratives related to perfectionism scores or eating disorder diagnoseswere found.

Conclusions: The results showed that psychometric measures do not always capture the patients’ definitionsof perfectionism, but regarding that perfectionism serves as a means to regulate affects and may lead into anexacerbation of the eating disorder, and the development of obsessive-compulsive symptoms, it is importantto investigate the personal definitions of perfectionism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2017. Vol. 5, no 3, p. 1-11
Keywords [en]
Eating disorders, Perfectionism, Qualitative research
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Social Sciences, Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-91323DOI: 10.1186/s40337-017-0136-4ISI: 000395733800001PubMedID: 28261478OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-91323DiVA, id: diva2:1388763
Available from: 2020-01-27 Created: 2020-01-27 Last updated: 2020-01-31Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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