A case for multiple pathways to increasing perfectionism: Reply to Soenens and Vansteenkiste (2019)

Andrew P Hill, Thomas Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

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Abstract

We respond to Soenens and Vansteenkiste's (2019) commentary on our meta-analysis (Curran & Hill, 2019) that evidenced increases in college students' perfectionism from 1989 to 2016. In speculating on possible reasons for the increase, we argued that increases in anxious and controlling parenting could partly account for this trend. Soenens and Vansteenkiste argue that in doing so we did not differentiate between parental control as structure and parental control as pressure, with only the latter being important for the development of perfectionism. They also argue that when this distinction is made, research suggests that parental control as pressure is decreasing. Finally, they caution for the risk of parent blame. In our response, we acknowledge the potential importance of the distinction between parental control as structure and parental control as pressure but note that so far this distinction has not been common in perfectionism research. We also acknowledge that the evidence provided by Soenens and Vansteenkiste could be suggestive of declining control as pressure. However, we highlight that our arguments hinged on a wider array of evidence that placed changes in parental behavior in context of broader social change and multiple pathways to increases in perfectionism. We close our response by agreeing that parents are not to blame for increasing perfectionism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-435
Number of pages3
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Volume145
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Development
  • Parenting
  • Perfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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