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Research Blames Social Media and Parents for Millennial Perfectionism

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Millennial perfectionism is an extremely widespread trend throughout this generation. Those in the millennial generation are considerably more inclined to be perfectionists than was the case in any recent generation. This, according to the newly released results of a study conducted from 1990 through 2015.

The study was published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review. It indicated that socio-cultural and parental factors, including the omnipresence of social media, help to explain why millennial perfectionism is as commonplace as it is.

Millennial Perfectionism Needs to be Taken Seriously

One of the study’s authors, Dr. Simon Sherry, a clinical psychologist, explained that millennial perfectionism is not just serious but that it can also be deadly. It has reached epidemic proportions across this generation in modern western cultures.

“We see similarly alarming increases in mental health problems on our university campuses, including depression, anxiety and stress,” explained Sherry, who is also a department of psychology and neuroscience professor at Dalhousie University in Canada. “Perfectionism may be caught up in the rising tide of mental health problems.”

Millennial Perfectionism Tendencies

This was one of the biggest millennial perfectionism studies ever conducted. It was held in the form of a meta analysis that examined the data from 77 other studies involving almost 25,000 participants aged 15 through 49 years old.

This analysis determined that those inclined toward millennial perfectionism have a tendency to seek flawlessness. Their standards are unrealistic and they tend to feel extremely strong pressure to live a perfect life and be perfect within it. This makes them inclined toward neuroses which are characterized by negative emotions such as envy, anxiety and guilt. It also makes them likely to become decreasingly conscientious over time, said the research.

Social Media and Millennial Perfectionism

According to Professor Sherry, social media has only increased the pressure on millennial perfectionism and is spreading that pressure onto teens and children as well. This pressures individuals to attempt to conform to highly unrealistic standards.

According to Sherry, kids need to be encouraged to develop a solid skepticism toward what they see online and on social media. They need to understand that the seemingly perfect lives displayed on social media and in ads are not real but are idealized versions of reality. “We need to cultivate a culture-wide skepticism toward these unrealistic and idealized media and social media images we’re being bombarded with,” he said.