Perfectionism and Health Behaviors: A Self- Regulation Resource Perspective



The role of perfectionism in the practice of health-promoting behaviors is an understudied area of perfectionism and health research that has yielded limited and equivocal findings. Drawing from self-regulation theory and current research on perfectionism and self-regulation, this chapter presents a self-regulation resource model (SRRM) as a new conceptual framework for understanding how and why perfectionism dimensions may be differentially linked to the practice of health-promoting behaviors. After highlighting the importance of health behaviors for health outcomes, and the value of taking a self-regulation perspective for understanding why people succeed or fail at engaging in health behaviors, I outline how the SRRM is potentially useful for organizing and bringing a conceptual clarity to the issue of perfectionism and health behaviors. Preliminary evidence is presented to support the proposed roles of emotions as potential self-regulation resources or liabilities that distinguish perfectionism dimensions, and illustrate how their dynamic and reciprocal relations with temporal orientations may further promote or prevent engaging in positive health behaviors. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the SRRM may be applied to better understand the role of perfectionism in health behaviors across different settings and populations to guide future research in this area.


Perfectionism Self-regulation Health behaviors Emotions Temporal orientation Future time perspective Negative affect Stress Self-regulation resources Health goals 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Centre for Research on AgingSherbrookeCanada

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