Tess Anderson '17, Gettysburg College
Jill Glazer '18, Gettysburg College
Melissa Menna '18, Gettysburg College
Huilin Xu '19, Gettysburg College
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 is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Berenson, Kathy R., Tess Anderson, Jill Glazer, Melissa Menna, and Huilin Xu. "Age, gender, and socioeconomic status differences in explicit and implicit beliefs about effortlessly perfect self-presentation." Poster presented at the annual convention of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Washington DC, April 5-8, 2018.