Perfectionism interventions targeting disordered eating: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Katherine Robinson, Tracey D. Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Perfectionism is a risk factor for depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, and perfectionism interventions show evidence of the impact on the development and maintenance of these disorders. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted of studies using perfectionism interventions that included measures of disordered eating/body image concerns. The primary aim was to investigate the impact on perfectionism and disordered eating/body image concerns, with a secondary aim of examining the impact on depression and anxiety. Method: The systematic review was conducted using Medline, PsycINFO, and Scopus. Grey literature was sought via ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. Effect size estimates for the meta-analysis were calculated using between- and within-group comparisons. Results: Eight studies were included in the between-group analysis and nine studies for the within-group analysis. Perfectionism interventions were effective in reducing perfectionism and disordered eating with large effect sizes, and in reducing depression and anxiety with moderate effect sizes. Studies included both clinical and non-clinical populations. Substantial heterogeneity was present across most analyses. Discussion: Eating disorder treatments may benefit more from the inclusion of perfectionism interventions than depression and anxiety treatments. Possible reasoning for these variations between symptom reduction is discussed. This report provides important early evidence for the efficacy of perfectionism interventions, however, the limited number of publications in this area, the presence of heterogeneity, and lack of diversity in participant populations limits the generalizability of these findings. Future research is needed to determine whether eating disorder treatments may benefit from the routine inclusion of a perfectionism component.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-487
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • anxiety
  • depression
  • disorder
  • eating
  • efficacy
  • intervention
  • perfectionism
  • prevention


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