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Behav Res Ther. 2013 Sep;51(9):547-54. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2013.05.015. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

The role of perfectionism in cognitive behaviour therapy outcomes for clinically anxious children.

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Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia.


The main aim of this study was to determine whether pre-treatment levels of child perfectionism impacted on anxiety treatment outcomes for school-aged children. In addition, it was investigated whether child perfectionism decreased following treatment for anxiety. Participants were sixty-seven clinically anxious children aged 6-13 years (female = 34; majority Caucasian) who were enrolled in a group-based cognitive behaviour therapy program, and their parents. They completed self-report questionnaires on anxiety and depressive symptoms and were administered a diagnostic interview to determine the type and clinician rated severity of anxiety and related disorders pre- and post-treatment and at 6-month follow-up. Self- and parent-rated perfectionism were also measured pre-treatment, while a subset of children completed perfectionism measures post-treatment as well. Self-Oriented Perfectionism, but not Socially Prescribed Perfectionism, predicted poorer self-reported treatment outcome (higher levels of anxiety symptoms) immediately following treatment and at 6-month follow-up when using a multi-informant approach. Additionally, both Self-Oriented and Socially Prescribed child perfectionism significantly reduced immediately following treatment. Despite reductions in child perfectionism following anxiety treatment, higher Self-Oriented Perfectionism may impact negatively on child anxiety treatment outcome.


Anxiety; Children; Cognitive behaviour therapy; Perfectionism; Treatment outcomes

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