Perfectionism is increasing over time: A meta-analysis of birth cohort differences from 1989 to 2016

Thomas Curran, Andrew Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

From the 1980s onward, neoliberal governance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom has emphasized competitive individualism and people have seemingly responded, in kind, by agitating to perfect themselves and their lifestyles. In this study, the authors examine whether cultural changes have coincided with an increase in multidimensional perfectionism in college students over the last 27 years. Their analyses are based on 164 samples and 41,641 American, Canadian, and British college students, who completed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (Hewitt & Flett, 1991) between 1989 and 2016 (70.92% female, M age = 20.66). Cross-temporal meta-analysis revealed that levels of selforiented perfectionism, socially prescribed perfectionism, and other-oriented perfectionism have linearly increased. These trends remained when controlling for gender and between-country differences in perfectionism scores. Overall, in order of magnitude of the observed increase, the findings indicate that recent generations of young people perceive that others are more demanding of them, are more demanding of others, and are more demanding of themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-429
Number of pages20
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Volume145
Issue number4
Early online date28 Dec 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Neoliberalism
  • Personality
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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