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J Psychosom Res. 2015 Oct;79(4):328-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.07.009. Epub 2015 Aug 5.

Short report: Functional somatic symptoms are associated with perfectionism in adolescents.

Author information

1
University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation (IPCE), Groningen, the Netherlands. Electronic address: i.j.bonvanie@umcg.nl.
2
University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation (IPCE), Groningen, the Netherlands.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of perfectionism on functional somatic symptoms (FSSs) in adolescents. It was hypothesized that perfectionism predicts higher levels of FSSs cross-sectionally and longitudinally, and that anxiety and depression mediate this relationship.

DESIGN:

This prospective population-based study was part of the Dutch Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (N=2230; 50.8% girls). Data from 1878 participants attending the third (T3) or fourth (T4) assessment wave were used (mean age T3: 16.2 (SD:0.7); mean age T4: 19.0 (SD:0.6)). Multiple regression and mediation analyses were performed in Mplus.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

FSSs, perfectionism (i.e. the feeling one has to be perfect), anxiety and depression were assessed with the Youth Self-Report at the third and fourth wave.

RESULTS:

Perfectionism was associated with a higher level of FSSs in adolescents, both cross-sectionally (B=0.11, 95%-CI: 0.08-0.14) and longitudinally (B=0.05, 95%-CI: 0.02-0.08). There was a small indirect effect of perfectionism on FSSs trough anxiety and depression (B=0.02, 95%-CI: 0.003-0.03, k(2)=0.02).

CONCLUSION:

The results suggest that perfectionism predicts the course of FSSs with a small indirect effect of perfectionism on FSSs trough anxiety and depression. Further research is needed to clarify which aspects of perfectionism are particularly responsible for this effect.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescence; Anxiety; Depression; Medically unexplained; Perfectionism; Physical symptoms

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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