Who is the most demanding of them all? A multisource investigation of other-oriented perfectionism, socially prescribed perfectionism, and depressive symptoms

People high on socially prescribed perfectionism perceive intense external pressures to be perfect, and these pressures place them at risk for depressive symptoms. Likewise, the external pressures experienced by people high on socially prescribed perfectionism appear, in part, to be a legitimate response to members of their social network (influencers) who demand perfection from others (other-oriented perfectionists). Nonetheless, it is unclear whose other-oriented perfectionism (e.g., parents or peers) is more relevant to the socially prescribed perfectionism-depressive symptoms relationship. To address this, we studied 307 undergraduate targets and 692 influencers (mothers, fathers, siblings, peers, and romantic partners). Targets completed measures of socially prescribed perfectionism and depressive symptoms. Influencers completed measures of other-oriented perfectionism and narcissism. Path analysis revealed other-oriented perfectionism in mothers and siblings, but not other-oriented perfectionism in fathers, peers, or romantic partners, indirectly predicted targets’ depressive symptoms through targets’ socially prescribed perfectionism. Conversely, indirect effects corresponding to influencers’ narcissism were not significant. Investigators are encouraged to continue using multisource designs to test how other-oriented perfectionism in parental and non-parental influencers depresses the recipients of their perfectionistic demands.