Award Date

5-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Christopher Kearney

Second Committee Member

Jeffrey Kern

Third Committee Member

Brad Donohue

Fourth Committee Member

Peggy Whitby

Number of Pages

263

Abstract

Perfectionism is a multidimensional construct that affects adults and children and is associated with psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsiveness. Studies regarding risk factors for perfectionism are scarce but extant research and theories suggest parents may be involved in the development of perfectionism in children. The present study included 160 children aged 8-17 years (67 males, 93 females) and their parents. The study examined child perfectionism across five age groups (8-9 years, 10-11 years, 12-13 years, 14-15 years, 16-17 years) as well as relationships between parent and child perfectionism and between parent psychopathology and child perfectionism. Self-oriented perfectionism was highest among children aged 16-17 years and lowest among children aged 12-13 years. Maternal perfectionism and maternal psychopathology predicted child self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism, with some age-related trends. Maternal anxiety mediated the relationship between maternal other-oriented perfectionism and socially prescribed perfectionism in children aged 8-12 years. Post hoc analyses also revealed that maternal socially prescribed perfectionism mediated relationships between maternal depression and anxiety and child self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism. Maternal perfectionism and psychopathology may constitute risk factors for child perfectionism and may vary in the way they impact children at different ages. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for theories of perfectionism development and clinical practices.

Keywords

Anxiety; Child development--Psychological aspects; Parenting; Perfectionism (Personality trait); Personality in children

Disciplines

Child Psychology | Clinical Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology

Language

English


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