• New Findings: Perfectionism and Health-Promoting Behaviors During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Check out the latest research article from the lab examining how perfectionism is linked to changes in health-promoting behaviors among teenagers following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic published @ Personality and Individual Differences, authored by Melissa Blackburn, Dr. Tabitha Methot, Dr. Danielle Molnar, Dr. Dawn Zinga, Dr. Natalie Spadafora and Natalie Tacuri. 

    For access to the full article until February 24th, 2022, click here:

    What is the study about?

    We examined how teenagers’ (12-18 years) level of perfectionism is linked to their engagement with health-promoting behaviors (e.g., healthy eating, adequate sleep, exercise) before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    What did we find?

    By examining both survey data and in-depth interviews, we found that most adolescents were experiencing a welcome break from their typically busy schedules during the first lockdown in Ontario which appeared to offer them the opportunity to engage in more health-promoting behaviors.

    However, this was not true of all our participants. Teenagers who were high in both the internal drive to be perfect and the belief that others expect perfection of them actually engaged in fewer health-promoting behaviors following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The in-depth interviews we conducted indicate that this may be due to the unwillingness of “extreme perfectionists” to lower their expectations for themselves, even during a global pandemic characterized by uncertainty and change.

    So what?

    This study is the first to examine the role of trait perfectionism in predicting health-promoting behaviors among teenagers during the pandemic. Our findings highlight that extreme perfectionists may be having a difficult time engaging with positive health behaviors during these unprecedented times.

  • New Findings: Perfectionistic Thoughts and Mental Health During the Pandemic

    Check out Dr. Molnar’s latest research article on perfectionism and mental health among young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic published @ Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive Therapy with Dr. Terrance Wade, Dr. Tabitha Methot, Jessy Moore & Dr. Deborah O’Leary!

    For the full article, click here:

    What is the study about?

    We examined how young adults’ perfectionism before the pandemic may be a risk factor for mental health (e.g., symptoms of anxiety and depression) during the pandemic.

    What did we find?

    Young adults (18-25 years old) who frequently think that they need to be perfect are experiencing more anxiety during the pandemic. Our results support Dr. Gordon Flett’s and Dr. Paul Hewitt’s work, which theorizes that perfectionism is a vulnerability factor for poorer mental health, especially when under stressful times, like a global pandemic!

    What about depressive symptoms?

    Our results did not show that thinking about the need to perfect predicted changes in depression from before the pandemic to during the pandemic.

    However, those who experienced more frequent perfectionistic thoughts before the pandemic experienced more depressive symptoms before the pandemic (within time).

    Along the same lines, young adults who experienced more frequent perfectionistic thoughts during the pandemic also experienced more symptoms of depression during the pandemic (within time).

    Did perfectionism change with the onset of the pandemic?

    Another interesting finding was that young people reported experiencing perfectionistic thoughts less frequently during the pandemic compared to before the pandemic. This suggests that, at least early on in the pandemic, some young people gave themselves a bit of a break from demanding perfection of themselves.

    So what?

    Overall, our findings indicate that frequently thinking about the need to be perfect is not adaptive or helpful. Rather, it is a risk factor for poorer mental health as we move through this pandemic.

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  • New Results: Perfectionistic Thoughts and Immune Functioning

    Think needing to be perfect is good for you? Think again.

    Our latest work shows that perfectionism comes at a cost to your immune system. In our new study of young adults (aged 18 to 24 years), we found that individuals who more frequently thought about needing to be perfect had more dysregulated immune system functioning when they were under stress. This work helps to explain why perfectionists (even younger people) tend to report poorer health and well-being.

    Read more here:

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  • Perfectionism and Youth Well-Being Webinar

    Join us Thursday March 11th, 2021 from 6 to 7 PM for a free webinar presented by Dr. Danielle Molnar along with graduate student Melissa Blackburn and Dr. Tabitha Methot-Jones.

    Do you ever feel like you need to be perfect all the time or are afraid to make mistakes? That might be a trait called perfectionism. But what is perfectionism and how does it influence health and well-being in children and youth?

    This free webinar presented via Lifesize will explore that question while also discussing:

    • Why are so many youth experiencing pressure to be perfect?
    • How can parents, educators, and youth-focused practitioners support youth struggling with perfectionism?
    • How are young perfectionists experiencing the pandemic?

    This webinar is free and open to the public, but early registration is required to gain access to the online event. RSVP online at

    Instructions for joining the event will be sent following registration. Please email Jayne Morrish at if you have any questions.

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  • Brock Dance Research Results

    We are excited to announce that we have findings to share from the “Exploring the Lived Experiences of Young Competitive Dancers” study!

    The following infographics will give you the highlights:

    You can find the full report below:

  • Congrats to William Janssen!!!

    Congratulations to William Janssen, who successfully defended his MA thesis, entitled “ Thinking (and Thinking…) About Perfection: A Test of the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory.”

    William did an outstanding job according to the examining committee: Dr. Danielle S. Molnar and Dr. Dawn Zinga (co-supervisors), Dr. Ayda Tekok-Kilic (committee member), Dr. Tim Murphy (committee member), and Dr. Kathryn Fletcher (external examiner, Ball State University).

    William will be attending OISE at the University of Toronto in September for his Ph.D. in School and Clinical Child Psychology. He also won a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship to support his doctoral studies. William, you will be greatly missed by the lab. All the best in the future!

  • APS Conference Presentation

    Congratulations to our students William Janssen and Emily Murphy who recently presented their research at the 30th Association for Psychological Science (APS) Annual Convention, held in San Francisco, California from May 24-27, 2018! What a wonderful experience seeing and hearing the great psychology research being done.

  • Dr. Molnar receives Ontario Early Researcher Award!

    Congratulations to Dr. Danielle Molnar for receiving an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science for her work investigating how and why perfectionism impacts adolescent health. Read more about this prestigious award here:

  • Dr. Molnar receives Faculty of Social Sciences Untenured Researcher Award!

    Congratulations to Dr. Danielle Molnar for receiving the Untenured Researcher Award from the Faculty of Social Sciences at Brock University! Read more about this award here:

  • Will Janssen: Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) award recipient

    Congratulations to our current MA student, William Janssen, for being offered an Ontario Graduate Scholarship to support the second year of his master’s level research examining perfectionism cognitions and rumination in emerging adults!