Parenting perfectionism and parental adjustment

Meghan A. Lee, Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan, Claire M. Kamp Dush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The parental role is expected to be one of the most gratifying and rewarding roles in life. As expectations of parenting become ever higher, the implications of parenting perfectionism for parental adjustment warrant investigation. Using longitudinal data from 182 couples, this study examined the associations between societal- and self-oriented parenting perfectionism and new mothers' and fathers' parenting self-efficacy, stress, and satisfaction. For mothers, societal-oriented parenting perfectionism was associated with lower parenting self-efficacy, but self-oriented parenting perfectionism was associated with higher parenting satisfaction. For fathers, societal-oriented parenting perfectionism was associated with higher parenting stress, whereas higher levels of self-oriented parenting perfectionism were associated with higher parenting self-efficacy, lower parenting stress, and greater parenting satisfaction. These findings support the distinction between societal- and self-oriented perfectionism, extend research on perfectionism to interpersonal adjustment in the parenting domain, and provide the first evidence for the potential consequences of holding excessively high standards for parenting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-457
Number of pages4
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The New Parents Project is supported by the NSF ( CAREER 0746548 to Schoppe-Sullivan), NICHD ( K01HD056238 to Kamp Dush), OSU’s Initiative in Population Research, and the Department of Human Development and Family Science at The Ohio State University. Portions of this paper were presented at the 2011 Midwestern Psychological Association annual meeting in Chicago, IL.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Parenting satisfaction
  • Parenting self-efficacy
  • Parenting stress
  • Perfectionism


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