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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The relationships between perfectionism, pathological worry and generalised anxiety disorder

Alicia K Handley*, Sarah J Egan, Robert T Kane and Clare S Rees

Author Affiliations

School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia 6845, Australia

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BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:98  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-98

Published: 2 April 2014

Abstract

Background

The relationships between perfectionism, pathological worry and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) were investigated in a clinical sample presenting for treatment of perfectionism.

Method

This study explored the utility of perfectionism in predicting pathological worry in a sample of individuals with elevated perfectionism and GAD (nā€‰=ā€‰36). Following this, the study examined whether perfectionism could predict a principal GAD diagnosis in the full sample (nā€‰=ā€‰42).

Results

Scores on the perfectionism dimensions Concern over Mistakes, Personal Standards, and Clinical Perfectionism significantly predicted pathological worry among participants with GAD after controlling for gender and depression. The perfectionism dimension Doubts about Actions significantly predicted whether individuals from the full sample received a principal diagnosis of GAD.

Conclusions

These findings support certain dimensions of perfectionism having significant associations with pathological worry and GAD.

Keywords:
Perfectionism; Pathological worry; Generalised anxiety disorder