Perfection Perception

"How to take the perfect selfie" instructions

It’s hard to be a millennial—when you’re a millennial?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Overachievers. OCD. Helicopter parents. Buzz words, sure, but are these tied to real phenomena?

Enter researchers from the UK, Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill. They compiled over one-hundred-and-fifty studies from the past three decades to research trends in perfectionism. In all studies, college students took a perfectionism test, rating passages anywhere from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”

RESULTS?! They found that people born more recently have raised perfectionism standards. Young people today are not only more critical of themselves. They are also more critical of others. And they FEEL it! The test found that the younger generations feel much harsher judgment from their peers than older generations.

The problem with setting such a high bar?! Along with raised standards, we see a decline in mental health. Perfectionism appears to go hand in hand with depression and anxiety.

So let our poor millennials have their selfie sticks. And their Instagram Snapchat thingie. So says a not-so-worried-about-details Boomer.

Reference: Curran, T., & Hill, A. P. (2019). Perfectionism is increasing over time: A meta-analysis of birth cohort differences from 1989 to 2016. Psychological Bulletin, 145(4), 410–429.