A Person-Centred Test of Multidimensional Perfectionism and Health in People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Versus Healthy Controls

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Theory and evidence suggests that person-centred models may be especially relevant for elucidating the role of perfectionism in health and well-being in those with chronic health conditions. This may be particularly true for conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), in which perfectionism is known to play a prominent role in health outcomes. Yet to date no research has taken a person-centred approach to examine how within-person combinations of perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns are linked to vulnerability for poor health in CFS. The current study compared matched samples of people with CFS and healthy controls (N = 163 each) on measures of stress, depression, and health problems. Consistent with the Stress and Coping Cyclical Amplification Model of Perfectionism in Illness and the tripartite model of perfectionism, within-person combinations of high perfectionistic concerns and strivings had the poorest health profile compared to other within-person combinations, but only among those with CFS. In addition, the perfectionism was indirectly associated with health through stress in those with CFS only. Findings add to a growing evidence base on the utility of person-centred models for understanding the health risks of perfectionism in the context of chronic illness.