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

Thomas Curran, Andrew Hill

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Abstract

From the 1980’s onwards, neoliberal governance in the US, Canada, and the UK has emphasized competitive individualism and people have seemingly responded, in kind, by agitating to perfect themselves and their lifestyles. In this study, we examine whether cultural changes have coincided with an increase in multidimensional perfectionism in college students over the last 27 years. Our 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, Mage = 20.66). Cross-temporal meta-analysis revealed that levels of self-oriented 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, our 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.
LanguageEnglish
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Early online date28 Dec 2017
DOIs
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2017

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Meta-Analysis
Parturition
Students
Canada
Perfectionism
Life Style

Cite this

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