McNair Scholars Program


Date of this Version



McNair Scholars Research Journal, 2011; University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Copyright © 2011 Alyssa Lundahl, Tiffany West, Elaine K. Martin, Christopher Campbell, Jayci Vanderbeek, and David J. Hansen


Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is associated with many short- and long-term sequelae including obsessive-compulsive behaviors (OCB) and perfectionism. Research suggests that the expression of child perfectionism may be influenced by caregivers’ OCB and CSA history. Caregivers with a CSA history may engage in dysfunctional parenting styles associated with child perfectionism, while children of caregivers with OCB may exhibit increased perfectionism due to genetics and/or the internalization of their parents’ perfectionist tendencies. However, given the high prevalence of OCB among those with a CSA history, the relationships among caregivers’ expression of OCB, caregivers’ CSA history, and child perfectionism is unclear. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore these relationships. Results indicated that, consistent with existing literature, caregivers with a CSA history had significantly greater OCB than caregivers without a CSA history. However, caregiver OCB was not associated with perfectionism in youth who experienced CSA. Alternatively, children whose caregivers had a history of CSA exhibited significantly greater perfectionism than children of caregivers without a CSA history. Moreover, regression analyses revealed that caregiver CSA history significantly contributed to a model predicting child perfectionism.