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.
Bibliographical noteFunding 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.
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- Parenting satisfaction
- Parenting self-efficacy
- Parenting stress