Date of Graduation

Spring 2024


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Julie Masterson


The trait of perfectionism has been related to both internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. Parenting traits, and attachment tendencies affect how children develop relationships and impact them into their adult lives. Parents have a large impact on their child’s personality traits, coping styles, and modeling reactions to outward criticism. Criticism, especially criticism delivered by parents, has been linked to perfectionism. Perfectionism often involves a self-critical component, though perfectionists have not been studied to examine stress responses (e.g. cortisol change) when receiving criticism. This study examined the relationships between parenting traits (positive and negative) and perfectionism (adaptive and maladaptive). Cortisol change scores were examined in adaptive and maladaptive perfectionists after receiving criticism. Independent samples t-tests were run for each hypothesis. Positive and negative parenting traits overall were not related to adaptive or maladaptive perfectionism, respectively. Negative mothers impacted child maladaptive perfectionism, though negative fathers did not. Positive mothers and fathers did not impact child adaptive perfectionism. Additionally, adaptive and maladaptive perfectionists both had blunted cortisol response patterns after receiving criticism. This further showcases the vital role parents play in the development of perfectionism and stress response mechanisms.


perfectionism, parenting, cortisol, criticism, stress

Subject Categories

Biological Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts


© Olivia G. Baron

Open Access