Although many people see the pursuit of excellence as a good thing, researchers have found that on the extreme end, perfectionism is actually linked to lower mental health.In one study, researchers analyzed how perfectionism was related to mental health across previous studies. They looked at a total of 284 studies (with over 57,000 participants) and found that perfectionism was associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders.They also found that people higher in perfectionism (i.e. participants who more strongly identified with perfectionist traits) also reported higher levels of overall psychological distress.In an article published in 2016, researchers looked at how perfectionism and depression were related over time.They found that people higher in perfectionism tended to have increases in depression symptoms, which suggests that perfectionism may be a risk factor for developing depression. In other words, although people may think of their perfectionism as something that helps them succeed, it appears that their perfectionism may actually be harmful for their mental health.Is perfectionism always harmful? Psychologists have debated this point, with some suggesting that there can be such a thing as adaptive perfectionism, in which people hold themselves to high standards without engaging in self-criticism over mistakes they make. Some researchers have suggested that a healthier form of perfectionism involves pursuing goals because you want to, and not blaming yourself if you fail to meet a goal. However, other researchers suggest that perfectionism is not adaptive: according to these researchers, perfectionism is more than just holding yourself to high standards, and they don’t think perfectionism is beneficial.