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A Sisyphean task: experiences of perfectionism in patients with eating disorders
Lund University / Kalmar County Council.
Lund University.
The Swedish Red Cross University College, Department of Technology and Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1515-0485
2017 (English)In: Journal of Eating Disorders, ISSN 2050-2974, Vol. 5, 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Despite the theoretical links between eating disorders and perfectionism, the definition of perfectionism in practice is complicated. The present study explored descriptions and experiences of perfectionism described by a transdiagnostic sample of patients.

METHODS: In-depth, semi-structured interviews were carried out with 15 patients. The interviews were analyzed by Thematic Analysis. A comparison between the patients' scorings on the Eating Disorder Inventory-Perfectionism scale was also performed.

RESULTS: Seven themes were found: The origins of perfectionism, Top performance, Order and self-control, A perfect body, Looking good in the eyes of others, A double-edged coping strategy, and A Sisyphean task. The women in this 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 perfectionism as impossible. Scorings of self-oriented perfectionism was significantly higher compared to socially prescribed perfectionism. No differences in the narratives related to perfectionism scores or eating disorder diagnoses were found.

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

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 5, 3
Keyword [en]
Eating disorders, Perfectionism, Qualitative research
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:rkh:diva-2344DOI: 10.1186/s40337-017-0136-4PubMedID: 28261478OAI: oai:DiVA.org:rkh-2344DiVA: diva2:1080689
Available from: 2017-03-10 Created: 2017-03-10 Last updated: 2017-05-17Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf