Perfectionist concerns are also apparent in patients with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder

Mental illness can be associated with many dysfunctional beliefs or mental processes. A study published in PLOS A suggests that perfectionism is one such symptom that is particularly prevalent in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder and in people with major depressive disorder.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are two very serious and pervasive forms of mental illness. They are often comorbid and occur in the same individual. This is thought to be partly due to the overlapping dysfunctional beliefs that occur in these two mental illnesses.

One of these beliefs is perfectionism. This study aims to explore the relationship between MDD and OCD and perfectionism using direct and indirect measures, predicting that levels of perfectionism for MDD and OCD will be similar due to similar underlying mechanisms.

For their study, Barbara Cludius and her colleagues used 55 participants with OCD, 55 participants with MDD, and 64 healthy control participants. MDD participants were hospitalized and OCD participants were recruited from psychiatric clinics. The International Neuropsychiatric Mini Interview was used to verify diagnoses and ensure that there was no diagnosis in healthy controls.

Participants completed measures on depression, psychopathology, perfectionism, OCD, and demographics. Participants also completed a verbal intelligence test and the perfectionism IAT, which measured reaction times to a combination of words.

The results showed that patients with MDD and OCD had higher levels of perfectionism than the healthy control group. This was true for both perfectionist endeavors and perfectionist concerns. These findings provided some support for a transdiagnostic process of perfectionism. While the TOC and MDD groups did not differ on levels of perfectionist effort, the TOC group showed higher levels of perfectionist concerns.

“Our results provide further evidence that perfectionist concerns may be a transdiagnostic process that is also associated with MDD and OCD. Therefore, it may be helpful for these patients to receive specific treatments that focus on perfectionism,” the authors wrote. researchers.

Patients with OCD and MDD achieved similar results on the SC-IAT indirect measure of perfectionism. Despite this, both groups also performed similarly to healthy controls on this proxy measure. The SC-IAT only measures perfectionist effort and future research could include a broader indirect measurement.

“The indirect measure of perfectionism provided the first evidence that the perfectionist factor of perfectionism is not more pronounced in patients with MDD and OCD than in healthy controls in the associative system,” the researchers said. “These results may suggest that unlike the cognitive models of both disorders, the perfectionist effort factor of perfectionism is not as important.”

This study took steps to better understand the similarities and differences in perfectionism between patients with MDD and OCD. Despite this, there are limitations to note. One such limitation is that the MDD group was drawn from hospital settings while the OCD group was recruited from outpatient settings, which could indicate differences in severity.

The study, “Direct and Indirect Assessment of Perfectionism in Patients with Depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder,” was authored by Barbara Cludius, Sarah Landmann, Anne-Katrin Külz, Keisuke Takano, Steffen Moritz, and Lena Jelinek.

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