Perfectionism in eating disorders: Are long-term outcomes influenced by extent and changeability in initial perfectionism?


  • Suzanne Petersson Lund University and Kalmar County Council
  • David Clinton Karolinska Institute
  • Lars Brundin Kalmar County Council
  • Kent-Inge Perseius Red Cross University College
  • Claes Norring Karolinska Institute



Perfectionism, Eating Disorders, Eating Disorder Inventory, Long term study, Cluster analysis


Purpose: Perfectionism has been found to predict outcomes in the treatment of eating disorders (ED). In the present study, we took advantage of longitudinal data to: a) investigate whether there are different patterns of perfectionism during the first six months after admission in a clinical sample of patients with ED, and b) describe how these patterns are related to long-term outcome. Methods: A sample of patients (N=294) from the Coordinated Evaluation and Research at Specialized Units for Eating Disorders database was divided into clusters according to perfectionism patterns measured with the EDI-2 perfectionism scale at baseline, and six months in treatment. Cluster analysis was performed on the extent and perseverance/changeability of self-oriented and socially described perfectionism. Outcome was measured with the EDI-2 and the SCL-63. Frequencies of eating disorder diagnoses were investigated. Results: Five clusters were identified. Low perfectionism was associated with lower levels of ED and psychiatric symptomatology at baseline. There were no significant differences between clusters on outcome variables at 36-month follow-up. Conclusions: Results indicated better psychiatric and psychological health three years after the initial measure. Patterns of relations between the extent and possible changes of perfectionism, measured with the EDI-P at baseline and after six months, did not appear to be associated with long-term outcomes on psychiatric health ratings.