Perfectionism, self-criticism and maternal criticism: A study of mothers and their children

Sarah Clark, Siân Coker

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33 Citations (Scopus)


Dysfunctional perfectionism has been related to psychological difficulties in both adults and children. The aim of this study was to examine associations between maternal dysfunctional perfectionism, self-criticism and criticism and dysfunctional perfectionism and self-criticism in their children. A cross-sectional design was used to measure dysfunctional perfectionism and self-criticism in a group of children and their mothers. A between groups design was then used to compare maternal criticism between mothers of children highlighted as having high or low dysfunctional perfectionism scores. A non-clinical sample of school children aged 12-15 years (N = 110) and their mothers completed questionnaire measures of perfectionism (Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS); Frost, Marten, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1990) and self-criticism (Levels of Self-Criticism Scale; Thompson & Zuroff, 2004). Dysfunctional Perfectionism was measured using the combined Concern over Mistakes and Doubts about Actions subscale of the MPS. Maternal criticism was measured using the Preschool Five Minute Speech Sample (P-FMSS; Daley, Sonuga-Barke, & Thompson, 2003). No relationship was found between maternal and child dysfunctional perfectionism. A relationship was found between maternal Comparative Self-Criticism and Internalised Self-Criticism in girls but not boys. Observed levels of maternal criticism were associated with dysfunctional perfectionism in children. Directions for future research and clinical implications are presented. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-325
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2009

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