Psychoanalytical, behavioural and cognitive theories assume a continuous process in the development of self-acceptance as an important psychological variable by parent-child interaction during childhood and adolescence. The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationships between perceived parental rearing behaviour and self-acceptance in psychiatric inpatients. The results of extreme group comparisons pointed to the reciprocal discriminative power of parental rearing factors and self-acceptance scores, supporting the hypothesis of a continuous process in the development of self-acceptance and mood traits. Perceived parental rearing predicted aspects of psychopathology in adulthood. The effects of maternal and paternal behaviour appeared to be gender-specific. Alternative interpretations of these findings are discussed.