A study says millennials are becoming perfectionists because they’re always being evaluated – and it’s leading to suicide and depression

The number of millennials suffering from mental illnesses has hit a record high thanks to a rise in perfectionism, researchers say.
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Here’s more evidence that Instagram’s bad for you – record numbers of millennials are suffering from perfectionism, leading to soaring rates of depression and suicide, newly-published research has found.

In their paper Perfectionism is increasing over timepublished in the Psychological Bulletin earlier in April, researchers Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill analysed the birth cohort differences of over 41,000 college students from the US, UK, and Canada between 1989 and 2016.

They found that millennials suffered immense pressure from being constantly “sifted, sorted and ranked” in exams, job performance, and on social media, where they feel compelled to curate a perfect life.

“From the 1980s onward, neoliberal governance… emphasized competitive individualism and people have seemingly responded, in kind, by agitating to perfect themselves and their lifestyles,” the researchers said.

“Levels of self-oriented perfectionism, socially prescribed perfectionism, and other-oriented perfectionism have linearly increased,” they added.

Curran and Hill explained in an article on their findings published on academic news site The Conversation that the modern world equated performance, status, and image with usefulness.

As a result, millennials felt compelled to outperform their peers in order to demonstrate value.

As a result, many become perfectionists, doling out harsh self-criticism, and experience “psychological turmoil” when they lack others’ approval.

Those who fail to keep up also believe that “their inferiority reflects some personal weakness or flaw”.

“Young people brood chronically about how they should behave, how they should look, or what they should own,” the researchers said, adding that this often led to mental illnesses like anxiety, anorexia, and suicidal thoughts.

They added: “Recent generations of young people perceive that others are more demanding of them, more demanding of others, and more demanding of themselves.”

Read also: Suicide is the main cause of death for millennials in Singapore – and most of them are men