People with perfectionist traits are more susceptible to burnout, and it is not only due to work-related stress, a new study has shown.
According to mental health expert and lead author Professor Gordon Parker, some conventional tools used to diagnose burnout focus on work-related stress, however, the impact is much more extensive.
Study findings suggest that people who tend to be perfectionists are more likely to experience burnout because of their own “unrelenting standards”.
“Most people think that burnout is a work problem. Actually, we found that stress experienced at work or at home can set the wheels of burnout in motion. Our analyses indicated that burnout may also develop as a result of predisposing personality traits, especially perfectionism,” said Professor Parker.
“People with perfectionistic traits are usually excellent workers, as they’re extremely reliable and conscientious. However, they’re also prone to burnout as they set unrealistic and unrelenting standards for their own performance, which are ultimately impossible to live up to,” he added.
Burnout is widespread among high achievers in the workplace — but is becoming increasingly more prevalent in personal lives.
Experts suggest burnout symptoms include constant exhaustion, emotional numbness and confusion at home or work, in contrast to regular tiredness.
“Most people consider burnout to be extreme tiredness, but in our studies, we have found that the symptoms are much more wide-ranging,” said Professor Parker.
“People struggling with burnout also suffer from cognitive dysfunction, sometimes known as ‘brain fog’ and disconnection from their friends and family, as well as the more typically-recognised reduced performance in work and tasks around the home,” he added.