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Perfectionism as a risk factor for suicide – the most comprehensive test to date

27 July 2017

According to the World Health Organisation, someone takes their own life by suicide every 45 seconds.

To help prevent future tragedies, we need to know more about the factors that make some people especially vulnerable to suicidal thoughts and acting on those thoughts.

One candidate is perfectionism: the tendency some people have to hold themselves to consistently impossible standards and/or feeling the need to meet or surpass the lofty expectations of others.

In 1995 the late psychologist Sidney Blatt highlighted the apparent link between perfectionism and suicide in an influential article for American Psychologist titled “The Destructiveness of Perfectionism” in which he profiled three highly talented, ambitious but harshly self-critical individuals all of whom took their own lives: Vincent Foster, a deputy counsel to President Bill Clinton; writer, singer and broadcaster Alasdair Clayre; and athlete and scholar Roger D Hansen.

Read more on our Research Digest blog.


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