Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Christopher Kearney

Number of Pages



Though perfectionism has been defined and measured in various ways, researchers generally agree that holding excessively high standards for oneself and/or others is central to the construct. Perfectionists are those individuals for whom merely doing well is never good enough. Perfectionism has been associated with many psychological disorders and signs of maladjustment. Though perfectionism is theorized as existing from childhood and onward, much of the research on this construct has used adult samples. Evidence suggests that parents are closely involved in the development of perfectionism in their children. For these reasons, research about perfectionism in children and relevant associations with parent characteristics is of significant importance; The current study assessed self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism in children and their parents as well as symptoms of psychopathology in these children and parents. The first hypothesis was that perfectionistic parents would be more likely to have children who also reported high levels of perfectionistic cognitions and behaviors. Significant relationships were found between mothers' self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism and sons' self-oriented perfectionism. The second hypothesis was that parents who reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and general psychological distress would be more likely to have perfectionistic children than parents who did not report symptoms of these disorders. Indeed, parent symptomatology was related to self-oriented perfectionism in sons and maternal symptomatology predicted self-oriented perfectionism in sons. The third hypothesis was that parents and children who reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and general internalizing problems would also report higher levels of perfectionism. Self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism were each associated with and predicted symptomatology in male youth. Maternal symptoms of psychopathology were also predicted by self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism. Findings were consistent with the fourth hypothesis that a no ethnic or gender differences in perfectionism would be found.


Child; Parent; Perfectionism; Psychopathology

Controlled Subject

Clinical psychology; Personality; Developmental psychology

File Format


File Size

4423.68 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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