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BBC: Are Competitive Parents Compensating for Their Insecurities?

BBC recently published research co-authored by Anat Keinan, Associate Professor of Marketing, on the many theories of competitive parenting. As the article discusses, research suggests competitive parenting may be a coping mechanism for some who feel vulnerable or inadequate in other areas of their lives.

Anat Keinan

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November 3, 2021

BBC recently published research co-authored by Anat Keinan, Associate Professor of Marketing, on the many theories of competitive parenting. As the article discusses, research suggests competitive parenting may be a coping mechanism for some who feel vulnerable or inadequate in other areas of their lives such as our professional roles – this is known as ‘status pivoting.’

Social media environments and rampant consumerism feed into the competitive parenting world.


“In today’s hyper-competitive and interconnected environment, upward comparisons are inescapable. Individuals often cope with status threat by pivot[ing] to domains in which they can signal achievements and feel superior.”

– Anat Keinan, Associate Professor of Marketing

In a study completed by Anat and fellow researchers, it was found that pivoting is not limited to parenting. Researchers found status pivoting is not negative, as Keinan concludes it “is a healthy psychological mechanism to have flexibility in how you define success.”

Anat Keinan is an associate professor in marketing. Her research interests include Branding, Symbolic Consumption, Consumer Wellness and Well-Being, Luxury Marketing, Consumer self-Control, Regret, Authenticity, and the Consumption of Experiences. She received her Ph.D. in Marketing, with distinction, from Columbia Business School. Professor Keinan is the winner of the 2011 Ferber Award for her research on collectable experiences, and the 2018 AMA Erin Anderson Award for Emerging Female Marketing Scholar and Mentor. Professor Keinan was twice ranked by the American Marketing Association as one of the Top 50 most productive Scholars in the premier marketing journals in the past 5 years.