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J Exp Child Psychol. 2013 Sep;116(1):1-18. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2012.12.006. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

An experimental manipulation of maternal perfectionistic anxious rearing behaviors with anxious and non-anxious children.

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Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia.


The anxious rearing model of perfectionism development proposes that children develop perfectionism in response to parental worry about their children being imperfect and parental behaviors such as overprotection from mistakes and focus on the negative consequences of mistakes. In the current study, perfectionistic rearing behaviors were experimentally manipulated during a copy task in clinically anxious children (n = 42) and non-anxious children (n = 35). Children were randomized to receive high or non-perfectionistic rearing behaviors from their parents during the copy task designed to elicit child perfectionistic behaviors. Results showed that self-reported self-oriented perfectionism (SOP) was significantly higher in the anxious group compared with the non-anxious group. All children showed an increase in observed SOP in response to high perfectionistic rearing behaviors. Despite this increase in SOP in the high perfectionistic rearing condition, it was children in the non-perfectionistic rearing condition that improved significantly in task accuracy performance. Non-anxious children declined in task-related striving for perfectionism when they experienced non-perfectionistic rearing behaviors from their parents. Anxious children, however, did not show a decline in task-related striving following non-perfectionistic rearing. Results support the perfectionistic rearing model and parental perfectionistic behaviors' impact on children's observed and self-reported SOP and task performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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