A new study published in the Addiction Behaviors Journal sheds light on the issue of perfectionism and how parenting can cause alcohol-related problems. In the study, it was revealed that the authoritarian parenting shown by mothers, instead of those shown by fathers, is associated with different aspects of perfectionism and that these could indirectly affect the alcohol consumption.
“The inspiration of this model was a group of extremely perfectionist individuals who used to work in my laboratory. I started to show interest in this subject matter following my observations on how my students with high technical talents developed alcohol consumption disorders and had recurring alcohol addiction,” says Julie A. Patock-Peckham, an Assistant Professor at the Arizona State University and the author of the aforementioned study, and adds:
“These students became excessively obsessive about what others think of them, they even tended to be scared of feedbacks on their writings. In the field of psychology, it is essential that scientists feel comfortable about having their studies regulated and reviewed by others. One student in particular was not capable of delivering a presentation in front of others with the fear that they could not do it in a perfect way.”
“These students seemingly consumed higher rates of alcohol in order to cope with their life-related problems, compared to the students who had a more comfortable attitude in terms of not being perfect at all times.”
“As a person who frequently carried out studies in which parenting styles were used as the indirect causes of alcohol consumption habits, I wanted to determine the parenting styles the maladaptive perfectionism was associated with,” says Patock-Peckham, who is also the director of the Social Addictions Impulse Lab.
A study that included 419 university students revealed a complex correlation between parenting styles, depressive indications and alcohol-related problems.
The researchers found out that the participants with more authoritarian mothers tended to show higher levels of one negative perfectionist attribute, which is also known as dissonance, and that this was associated with the increasing depressive symptoms.
In a statement of hers, “In addition to positive types of perfectionism, such as high standards and requirements of being orderly, there are also types of maladaptive perfectionism, such as the contradiction defining the ideal self and true self,” says Patock-Peckham.
The contradiction of perfectionism was directly associated both with more depressive symptoms and alcohol problems. In the meantime, increasing depressive symptoms were also associated with self-treatment impulses regarding alcohol consumption, and they were found to be causing both more alcohol consumption and alcohol problems.
Surprisingly, having a more authoritarian father seemed to be causing an exact opposite result. In a study conducted, the researchers said “Authoritarian fathers essentially lead their children to form high standards, which functions as a protective bond against depression and use of alcohol for self-treatment purposes.
We can only make estimates about the submissiveness demanded by fathers having a different function than the submissiveness demanded by mothers. The fact that fathers set rules for their children can be perceived as some sort of interest shown, even though the rules are quite strict in this situation,” as reported by Patock-Peckham in a statement she gave to the PsyPost.
It was revealed that the authoritarian parenting shown by mothers was less associated with the alcohol consumption, compared to authoritative mothering. While authoritative parenting is characterized by strict rules without showing any affection, authoritarian parenting is shaped by affectionate behaviors that include clear rules.
Authoritarian parenting shown both by mothers and fathers has led to an increase in high standards.
“This is nothing but a phase of discovery regarding any possible remarks about the causes why some people choose alcohol to cope with the problems and sorrow in their lives. We have a lot to do about this subject matter, including some long-term studies. Moreover, I would also very much like to see a perfectionism-oriented study that analyzes all of the alcohol consumption impulses,” says Patock-Peckham and adds:
“When health- and welfare-based results are taken into consideration, perfectionism is a field that has not been studied enough.”
“To feel the urge to be perfect in the eyes of others can be really detrimental to your health, even though high standards are correlated with positive results. We should put an end to taking proud in glorifying the contradiction of perfectionism. If they had been scared of looking stupid from time to time, no one would have done anything unprecedented, innovative or exciting in the world of science.”
The study titled “Perfectionism and self-treatment as the means of the bonds between parenting and results of alcohol habit” was penned by J.A. Patock-Peckham and W.R. Corbin.