A fascinating study from the University of Michigan has recently revealed a correlation between perfectionism, spirituality and parental expectations.
Chang et al examined the relationships between perfectionism and spirituality in a sample of college students. They found that students who exhibited perfectionist behaviours, such as maintaining excessively high personal standards and organisational skills, also scored highly on a spirituality scale.
Upon conducting regression analyses, the team found that dimensions of perfectionism were also unique predictors of different dimensions of spirituality, and that parental expectations were a positive predictor for all three dimensions of spirituality being studied.
Interestingly, maladaptive dimensions of perfectionism, such as concern about making mistakes or parental criticism, were negatively associated with spirituality.
Personally, I would be interested in seeing an extension of this study in which the religious beliefs of the adult students were charted against those of their parents, in particular looking at those who had converted to a different religious faith upon growing up. Presumably Chang et al‘s results indicated that the level of spirituality remains the same regardless of the beliefs themselves, but I believe it would be interesting to look into conversion rates, compared with the general population, and any potential differences in fervency of belief between those who had converted to a different spiritual belief system and those who had remained with the beliefs of their parents.
The full study can be found in volume 79 of Personality and Individual Differences.