Nail biters are usually classified as anxious people, and nail biting is how they release their anxiety. This theory makes sense, so we usually just accepted it.
A new study has been done to prove that anxiety isn't always the cause behind a nail biters motive and it could stem deeper. In the study they found a personality trait that makes them do this.
So, if you're a constant nail biter, it may be because you have this personality trait.
Throughout the study, researchers studied 48 participants. Half of the participants had body-focused repetitive behaviors, nail biting is considered one. The other half had no repetitive habits such as these.
They performed the study by having every participant fill out a number of surveys, which were made to test their emotion regulations and organizational behavior, to try and figure out why people have these habits.
From the study, they may have found a common personality trait among nail biters: Perfectionism.
"We believe that individuals with these repetitive behaviors may be perfectionistic, meaning that they are unable to relax and to perform tasks at a normal pace," said study author Dr. Kieron O'Connor.
"They are therefore prone to frustration, impatience and dissatisfaction when they do not reach their goals."
This is why perfectionists bite their nails...
They believe that nail biters do so because it is a way to express their frustration when something goes wrong or they don't reach success, which happens quite often for a perfectionist.
If you are a nail biter and don't think this really fits with you, you may be wrong. Even though you don't define yourself as a perfectionist, you might fit some of the characteristics of one. These are some known perfectionist traits:
- You think in very "˜all-or-nothing' terms.
- You're very hard on yourself.
- When you don't achieve a goal, you become angry with yourself.
- Even when you do achieve a goal, that success is not enough to make you happy.
If any of these fit with you, you might be a perfectionist and that explains why you bite your nails. So, although it may because of anxiety for some people, the main cause of nail biting is actually to do with your perfectionist personality.
Although perfectionism is not a bad personality trait to have, the nail biting may be the down side to it. Nail-biting can lead to infections, weakened teeth and deformation of the fingernails. As a nail biter, I know it isn't an easy habit to break, but try your best and find a different way to deal with your stress.