2023 Jenike Young Investigator Award

A good enough intervention: Testing brief online self-help treatment modules for clinical perfectionism

Clarissa Ong, PhD & Eric Lee, PhD

University of Toledo (Toledo, OH)

Award Amount: $47,643

Clinical perfectionism, a common feature of OCD, leads to problems when individuals set extremely high standards for themselves and harshly criticize themselves for not meeting those standards. This can result in reduced productivity, low self-worth, and mental health issues. Moreover, perfectionism increases the risk of developing OCD, hoarding disorder, hair-pulling disorder, and body image concerns. It also hinders individuals from benefiting from treatment, seeking help, and continuing treatment. This is especially challenging for people with perfectionism from minority and underserved communities, as they often struggle to find qualified treatment providers. Two areas of research could address these issues: self-help programs accessible through computers and phones and brief personalized treatment programs that cater to people’s immediate needs.
To explore these areas, Drs. Ong and Lee are conducting a randomized controlled trial. They aim to develop and evaluate an online self-help program for perfectionism. This program will consist of multiple brief treatment sessions that users can access any time and select according to their individual requirements. The trial will include 100 participants randomly assigned to either use the online program for four weeks or read a self-help book on perfectionism. The researchers will assess changes in perfectionism, quality of life, depression, anxiety, self-compassion, and psychological flexibility over time. The study aims to provide a practical solution to increase treatment engagement and accessibility for perfectionism, particularly for populations lacking adequate treatment options.