People with major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have elevated trait perfectionism. We tested whether they hold perfectionistic standards for specific life roles and examined the extent to which they met their own expectations for, gained satisfaction from, and expended effort in these roles.
Seventy-four women with MDD, GAD, both disorders, or no mental disorders (CTL) described their standards for a socially-and achievement-oriented roles, coded for perfectionism. Using ecological momentary assessment, participants reported the extent to which they met, how much satisfaction they gained from, and how much effort they expended in each role.
Although the clinical groups endorsed elevated trait perfectionism, they did not differ from CTLs in their role-specific standards. Compared to CTLs, the clinical groups reported meeting their standards to a lesser extent and receiving less satisfaction from both roles. The two MDD groups reported expending less effort in achievement-oriented, but not socially-oriented, roles than the other two groups.
Despite similar standards for socially- and achievement-oriented roles, people with MDD and/or GAD are less likely to meet their standards and gain satisfaction from these roles. Having MDD, independent of GAD, is associated with putting less effort into achievement-oriented roles.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
We computed linear and quadratic time-of-day variables, operationalized as the number of minutes since the first prompt of the day (centered across all participants). Linear time of day was not associated with achievement-role expectations, satisfaction, or effort, or with social-role expectations or effort, but was negatively associated with social-role satisfaction, t(997) = 2.73, p < .01; people’s satisfaction in their social roles decreased across the day. Quadratic time of day was not associated with any of the six variables. We ran Models 1 and 2 for social-role satisfaction, including the two time-of-day variables at Level 1. Results were consistent with models without the two time-of-day variables.
Barrett, D. J., & Feldman-Barrett, L. (2000). The experience sampling program (ESP). Retrieved from https://www.experiencesampling.org/.
Beck, J. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
Bell-Dolan, D., & Wessler, A. E. (1994). Attributional style of anxious children: Extensions from cognitive theory and research on adult anxiety. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 8, 79–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/0887-6185(94)90025-6.
Besharat, M. A., Issazadegan, A., Etemadinia, M., Golssanamlou, S., & Abdolmanafi, A. (2014). Risk factors associated with depressive symptoms among undergraduate students. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 10, 21–26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2014.02.002.
Bieling, P. J., Israeli, A. L., & Antony, M. M. (2004). Is perfectionism good, bad, or both? Examining models of the perfectionism construct. Personality and Individual Differences, 36, 1373–1385. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0191-8869(03)00235-6.
Boldero, J., & Francis, J. (2002). Goals, standards, and the self: Reference values serving different functions. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6, 232–241. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327957pspr0603_7.
Brown, T. A., & Tung, E. S. (2018). The contribution of worry behaviors to the diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 40, 636–644. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-018-9683-5.
Burton, N. W. (1978). Societal standards. Journal of Educational Measurement, 15, 263–271. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-3984.1978.tb00073.x.
Chang, E. C., Zumberg, K. M., Sanna, L. J., Girz, L. P., Kade, A. M., Shair, S. R., et al. (2007). Relationship between perfectionism and domains of worry in a college student population: Considering the role of BIS/BAS motives. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 925–936. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2007.02.026.
Dimidjian, S., Martell, C. R., Addis, M. E., & Herman-Dunn, R. (2008). Behavioral activation for depression. In D. H. Barlow (Ed.), Clinical handbook of psychological disorders (pp. 328–364). New York: Guilford Press.
Dunn, J. G. H., Craft, J. M., Dunn, J. C., & Gotwals, J. K. (2011). Comparing a domain-specific and global measure of perfectionism in competitive female figure skaters. Journal of Sport Behavior, 34, 25–46.
First, M. B., Spitzer, R., Gibbon, M., & Williams, J. (1996). Structured clinical interview for DSM-IV axis I disorders– clinician version (SCID-CV). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.
Ferguson, K. L., & Rodway, M. R. (1994). Cognitive behavioral treatment of perfectionism: Initial evaluation studies. Research on Social Work Practice, 4, 283–308. https://doi.org/10.1177/104973159400400302.
Frost, R. O., Marten, P., Lahart, C., & Rosenblate, R. (1990). The dimensions of perfectionism. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 14, 449–468. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01172967.
Gotlib, I. H., & Joormann, J. (2010). Cognition and depression: Current status and future directions. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 6, 285–312. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.121208.131305.
Gunnard, K., Krug, I., Jiménez-Murcia, S., Penelo, E., Granero, R., Treasure, J., et al. (2011). Relevance of social and self-standards in eating disorders. European Eating Disorders Review, 20(4), 271–278. https://doi.org/10.1002/erv.1148.
Handley, A. K., Egan, S. J., Kane, R. T., & Rees, C. S. (2014). The relationships between perfectionism, pathological worry and generalised anxiety disorder. BMC Psychiatry, 14, 98. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244x-14-98.
Hewitt, P. L., & Flett, G. L. (1991). Perfectionism in the self and social contexts: Conceptualization, assessment, and association with psychopathology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 456–470. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1246.
Kawamura, K. Y., Hunt, S. L., Frost, R. O., & DiBartolo, P. M. (2001). Perfectionism, anxiety, and depression: Are the relationships independent? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 25, 291–301. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010736529013.
Kendler, K. S., Gardner, C. O., Gatz, M., & Pedersen, N. L. (2007). The sources of comorbidity between major depression and generalized anxiety disorder in a Swedish national twin sample. Psychological Medicine, 37, 453–462. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291706009135.
Kircanski, K., Joormann, J., & Gotlib, I. H. (2012). Cognitive aspects of depression. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 3, 301–313. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.1177.
Klibert, J., Lamis, D., Naufel, K., Yancey, C. T., & Lohr, S. (2015). Associations between perfectionism and generalized anxiety: Cognitive schemas and gender. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 33, 160–178. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10942-015-0208-9.
Krull, J. L., & MacKinnon, D. P. (2001). Multilevel modeling of individual and group level mediated effects. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 36, 249–277. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327906MBR3602_06.
Levine, S. L., & Milyavskaya, M. (2018). Domain-specific perfectionism: An examination of perfectionism beyond the trait-level and its link to well-being. Journal of Research in Personality, 74, 56–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2018.02.002.
Llera, S. J., & Newman, M. G. (2014). Rethinking the role of worry in generalized anxiety disorder: Evidence supporting a model of emotional contrast avoidance. Behavior Therapy, 45, 283–299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2013.12.011.
Markus, H., & Oyserman, D. (1989). Gender and thought: The role of self-concept. In M. Crawford & M. Gentry (Eds.), Gender and thought: Psychological perspectives (pp. 100–127). New York: Springer.
McArdle, S. (2010). Exploring domain-specific perfectionism. Journal of Personality, 78, 493–508. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2010.00624.x.
Moffitt, T. E., Harrington, H., Caspi, A., Kim-Cohen, J., Goldberg, D., Gregory, A. M., et al. (2007). Depression and generalized anxiety disorder cumulative and sequential comorbidity in a birth cohort followed prospectively to age 32 years. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64, 651–660. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.64.6.651.
Newman, M. G., & Llera, S. J. (2011). A novel theory of experiential avoidance in generalized anxiety disorder: A review and synthesis of research supporting a contrast avoidance model of worry. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 371–382. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2011.01.008.
Remes, O., Brayne, C., Linde, R. V., & Lafortune, L. (2016). A systematic review of reviews on the prevalence of anxiety disorders in adult populations. Brain and Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.497.
Romera, I., Perez, V., Menchón, J., Delgado-Cohen, H., Polavieja, P., & Gilaberte, I. (2010). Social and occupational functioning impairment in patients in partial versus complete remission of a major depressive disorder episode. A six-month prospective epidemiological study. European Psychiatry, 25, 58–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2009.02.007.
Rutherford, J. (1990). A place called home: Identity and the cultural politics of difference. In J. Rutherford (Ed.), Identity: Community, culture, difference (pp. 9–27). London: Lawrence & Wishart.
Slaney, R. B., Rice, K. G., Mobley, M., Trippi, J., & Ashby, J. S. (2001). The revised almost perfect scale. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 34, 130–145.
Snijders, T. A. B., & Bosker, R. (2011). Multilevel analysis: An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Stoeber, J. (2018). The psychology of perfectionism: Critical issues, open questions, and future directions. In J. Stoeber (Ed.), The psychology of perfectionism: Theory, research, applications (pp. 333–352). London: Routledge.
Stöber, J., & Joormann, J. (2001). Worry, procrastination, and perfectionism: Differentiating amount of worry, pathological worry, anxiety, and depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 25, 49–60. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026474715384.
Treadway, M. T., & Zald, D. H. (2011). Reconsidering anhedonia in depression: Lessons from translational neuroscience. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 35, 537–555. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.06.006.
Treadway, M. T., Bossaller, N. A., Shelton, R. C., & Zald, D. H. (2012). Effort-based decision-making in major depressive disorder: A translational model of motivational anhedonia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121, 553–558. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0028813.
Waters, A., Bradley, B., & Mogg, K. (2014). Biased attention to threat in pediatric anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, specific phobia, separation anxiety disorder) as a function of ‘distress’ versus ‘fear’ diagnostic categorization. Psychological Medicine, 44, 607–616. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291713000779.
This research was supported by Grants from the National Institute of Mental Health [MH096385 to Katharina Kircanski, MH091831 to Renee J. Thompson, and MH059259 to Ian H. Gotlib].
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Thompson, R.J., Borenstein, J.B., Kircanski, K. et al. Standards for Socially-and Achievement-Oriented Roles in Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Cogn Ther Res 44, 1025–1033 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-020-10123-2