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Most people experience anxiety because they always want to be perfect in all their operations. Perfectionism is a rare personality trait that presents with different characteristics. Individuals with perfectionism trait often evaluate themselves and others as perfect humans (Ortony et al, 1998; Frost et al. 1993). People associated with perfectionism strive for flawlessness and want to maintain very high standards of performance. The study of perfectionism and trait anxiety is very important to psychologists. The above research revealed that perfectionism is the major causes of most anxiety disorders experienced by people of America. The study used 200 participants, 100 men and 100 women. All the participants were employed in different industries in public and private sectors. The questionnaire that consisted of a Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale was used to measure perfectionism. The study outcomes revealed that the working class is the most affected with leaders scoring the highest percentage of anxiety disorders. Results of this research play a significant role in the field of psychology because they will help in developing solutions for people experiencing anxiety in their day-to-day activities.
Anxiety refers to the normal human emotion experienced by people at all times. Anxiety occurs when a person experiences difficult moments at work or in the family before making an important decision. People develop anxiety disorders when faced by many challenging situations in life that causes major distress and interferes with the individual’s normal life (Dunkley, & Blankstein, 2000). The more an individual tries to become perfect in performing a certain task, the more anxious one becomes. People always want to please their peers and friends into doing extra ordinary actions that cause anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2009), about 40 million Americans above 18 years of age suffer from anxiety disorders that make them fearful and uncertain about certain activities. Psychologists have discovered a number of anxiety disorders affecting a big population in America, which include relative mild and brief anxiety. Anxiety disorders are mostly accompanied by other physical or mental illnesses such as drug and substance abuse that always prevent physicians from discovering anxiety symptoms (Peters, & Battista, 2008). Individual’s trait is the most commonly associated phenomenon with anxiety. Professionals sometimes want to show perfectionism in all their actions, and mostly end up suffering from anxiety disorders (Bandura, 1988).
The study used 200 participants, 100 men and 100 women working in a consumer product industry. Participants selected were between the ages of 30 and 45 years. Before the commencement of the study, participants were requested to give true information and it was confirmed that no information would be leaked to the public. Additionally, all participants signed the informed consent to show their willingness to participate in the exercise. The research team members took the participants through a recruitment program aimed at familiarizing them with the basic requirements for the research. Participants were asked to volunteer for the program because the recommendations would eventually adjust individual personalities. A questionnaire that consisted of a Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale was used to measure perfectionism (Slaney et al. 2001). The scale consisted of 45 items used to measure social, self-oriented, and other oriented perfectionism. Using this method, students were asked to respond to various items on and their response graded on a scale of 1 to 10. The items to which they were required to respond gauged their level of perfectionism. Anxiety, anger and depression, on the other hand, were measured using State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, 1999). An eight-item depression scale was used for anger, depression and anxiety and participants asked to respond to the items on a scale of 1 to 4.
Testing for anxiety among participants
The results of the study were in tandem with what other scholars have established about the subject in earlier research projects. The results of this research indicated that different perfectionism traits made it very easy to predict the likelihood of trait-anxiety disorder occurring in an individual. This could be shown by studying the level of negative emotions developed by the individuals in the face of failure. The subjection of different individuals to failure, and repeated failure produced different results with perfectionist and non-perfectionists students. It was noted that perfectionists developed high levels of depression and anger when they failed, and that these emotions worsened with repeated failure. Non perfectionist students on the other hand showed high degree of resistance to such negative emotions associated with trait anxiety. This shows that perfectionism predisposes people to trait anxiety. The results clearly indicated the maladaptive nature of perfectionism.
Relationship between perfectionism and anxiety
The study went above the previous researches on perfectionism and individual anxiety because it tested both individual’s sensitivity to perfectionism and anxiety. From the results, it was realized that perfectionism makes individuals set goals that they eventually fail to achieve in their lifetime leading to anxiety disorders. People aiming perfectionism, especially senior managers or bosses in the organization demonstrated a maladaptive form of perfectionism. Maladaptive form has a significant impact on the individual and may results into mental problems if not discovered early. According to British Psychological Society (2009), individuals seeking perfectionism are likely to overestimate their abilities leading to over-reactions and excessive use of brains. Additionally, individuals seeking perfectionism suffers major depression effects upon failure to achieve their goals. In the study, 30 percent of the participants demonstrated major signs of depression because they had not achieved their goals as employees of the company. On the other hand, perfectionism can have far reaching negative effects on the health of the individuals involved. Research by Donkley & Backstein revealed that depression caused by anxiety leads to other major problems such as nervous breakdown and suicide tendencies. Perfectionism among individuals is realized as one of the major causes of suicide in the American working class (Donkley & Backstein, 2000). Additionally, the maladaptive form of perfectionism leads to trait anxiety.
The study also shows that perfectionism is fairly common. It is, however, clear that there are different types of perfectionists with some being more extreme than others in terms of how they react to stimuli. When the students are subjected to repeated failure, the results indicate that the level of negative emotions in the perfectionists vary from one individual to another. This shows an element of moderation in some perfectionists (Besser, Flett, Hewitt, & Guez, 2008; Besser, Flett, & Hewitt, 2004). The result shows that two types of perfectionists, the self-oriented perfectionists and the socially prescribed perfectionists, react differently to repeated failure. Socially prescribed perfectionists appear to develop more extreme negative emotions as compared to self-oriented perfectionists. While the former tend to blame others for their perceived failure to meet the standards they have set for themselves, the latter tend to blame themselves. This explains the moderation with which they react to failure.
Perfectionism is understood by psychologists to be a multidimensional characteristic. This is because it tends to have both negative and positive aspects. Trait anxiety is known to exist in both adaptive and maladaptive form. In its adaptive form, perfectionism is considered a positive trait. This is because it can motivate those affected to achieve their goals (Frost et al 1990). The study of trait personality will therefore present an opportunity for those affected to take advantage of the positive impacts of the condition to develop them. The following discussion will show how perfectionism impacts trait-anxiety. The paper will discuss the relationship between individual trait’s perfectionism and anxiety.
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