Student Authors:

Tess Anderson '17, Gettysburg College

Jill Glazer '18, Gettysburg College

Melissa Menna '18, Gettysburg College

Huilin Xu '19, Gettysburg College

Document Type

Conference Material

Publication Date


Department 1



Feeling pressure to project an image of effortless perfection -- always appearing to perform with self-confidence and ease --- has been portrayed in the media as an increasingly common mental health vulnerability with potentially serious implications for college women. Despite this, almost no empirical research exists on effortlessly perfect self–presentation (EPSP) or demographic differences in it.

• Some recent research suggests that perfectionism is on the rise among young people (Curran & Hill, 2017), and that it is more associated with mental health problems among students with high rather than low socioeconomic status (Lyman & Luthar, 2014). However, these studies did not focus specifically on EPSP, which differs from more typical perfectionism in that it prohibits apparent effort or anxiety while striving for perfection. Of the two published studies on EPSP, one did not examine demographic differences (Flett et al., 2016) and the other found higher endorsement of EPSP among men than among women (Travers et al., 2016).

• Anonymous interviews we conducted about EPSP in 40 college students (Glazer et al., in prep) yielded very complex, self-contradictory responses suggesting that beliefs about EPSP may be characterized by stigma and ambivalence. For this reason we decided to focus the current study on indirect and implicit measures of EPSP.

• In this study, participants completed three new scales about EPSP, along with the two existing measures of this phenomenon, several mental health measures, and demographics questions. They also rated the perceived social status and self-esteem of two target individuals in a within-person experimental design.


This poster was presented at the annual convention of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Washington DC, April 5-8, 2018.