Perfectionism works for some diabetics, but not for new moms

Striving for flawlessness bolsters health for some, not others

1:43pm, May 31, 2010

BOSTON — People who demand perfection of themselves may be affected, often for the worse, by the fact that they can’t live up to that standard. But under some circumstances, perfectionism may help people to live longer.

Pregnant women who feel like they should be ideal mothers display an elevated risk for developing postpartum depression, scientists reported May 30 at the Association for Psychological Science annual convention. Yet, perfectionist seniors who develop diabetes for the first time tend to survive longer than their less exacting peers facing the same health predicament, according to an investigation presented at the same meeting session.

The director of the diabetic study, Prem Fry of Trinity Western University in Langley, Canada, called the finding “highly unexpected.” Fry had suspected that death might come especially quickly for perfectionist seniors with diabetes.

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