This study examined perfectionism in relation to recovery from eating disorders by comparing different conceptualizations of perfectionism across healthy controls and fully recovered, partially recovered, and active eating disorder cases, where full recovery was defined using physical, behavioral, and psychological indices.
Participants were primarily young adult females; 53 active eating disorder cases, 15 partially recovered cases, 20 fully recovered cases, and 67 healthy controls. Participants completed questionnaires assessing trait perfectionism, perfectionistic self-presentation style, and frequency of perfectionism cognitions, as well as a diagnostic interview to determine lifetime and current eating disorder diagnoses.
A robust pattern emerged whereby the fully recovered individuals and healthy controls had similar levels of perfectionism that were significantly lower than the perfectionism levels of the partially recovered and active individuals with eating disorder, who were comparable to each other.
These findings have implications for more clearly defining eating disorder recovery and for the role perfectionism may play in achieving full recovery. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord, 2010