Are perfectionism dimensions risk factors for anxiety symptoms? A meta-analysis of 11 longitudinal studies

Background: Over 50 years of theory and research implicates perfectionism in anxiety. However, it is unclear which (if any) perfectionism dimensions are risk factors for anxiety.

Objective: To address this, we conducted a meta-analysis testing whether socially prescribed perfectionism, concern over mistakes, doubts about actions, self-oriented perfectionism, and personal standards predict increases in anxiety.

Method: Our literature search yielded 11 relevant studies for inclusion, composed of children, adolescents, undergraduates, community adults, and psychiatric patients.

Results: Meta-analysis using random-effects models revealed concern over mistakes (r+= .11), doubts about actions (r+= .13), and personal standards (r+= .08), but not socially prescribed perfectionism or selforiented perfectionism, displayed significant small positive relationships with follow-up anxiety, after controlling for baseline anxiety.

Conclusion: Research is needed to understand the conditions under which the connection between perfectionism and anxiety becomes stronger (e.g., stress).