IJCNMH ARCpublishing

Issue: Issue 1 (2014)

Review Article

Perfectionism and psychological distress: a review of the cognitive factors

António Macedo, Mariana Marques, and Ana Telma Pereira
The authors review the role of cognitive processes and mechanisms involved in the relationship between maladaptive aspects of perfectionism and psychological distress. A brief introduction to the concept of perfectionism is made, giving particular relevance to its multidimensional nature that encompasses positive and negative aspects. The later facets and its relationship with a broad range of psychopathological conditions are emphasized. The main cognitive processes and cognitions underlying perfectionist behavior and its negative emotional consequences are analyzed. Special importance is given to the role of repetitive negative thinking (RNT) and how this cognitive process mediates the relationship between perfectionism and psychological distress. The authors propose a multilevel cognitive model in which the metacognitive beliefs about the value of RNT may explain the onset and maintenance of the cognitive mechanisms involved in perfectionism and its relationship with emotional disturbances. In this context, it is important to develop and test this model empirically, with instruments designed to investigate the metacognitive processes involved in perfectionism. The clinical implications resulting from this model would be the development of cognitive-behavioral interventions designed to address levels of psychological distress across the many perfectionism-related disorders, focused directly on controlling levels of RNT (worry/rumination) and managing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Keywords: Perfectionism, Psychological distress, Cognitions, Worry, Rumination, Metacognitions.

International Journal of Clinical Neurosciences and Mental Health 2014; 1:6

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