Child Sexual Abuse and the Superfluous Association with Negative Parenting Outcomes: The Role of Symptoms as Predictors


  • Andrea L Pazdera, PhD, School of Behavioral Health Sciences; Lenore M McWey, PhD and Ann Mullis, PhD, Department of Family and Child Sciences, Florida State University; Joyce Carbonell, PhD, Department of Psychology, Florida State University.

Address correspondence to Andrea L Pazdera, School of Behavioral Health Sciences, 10000 E. University Drive, Prescott Valley, Arizona 86314; E-mail:


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between child sexual abuse and high-risk maternal parenting indicators and the extent to which maternal depression and self-perceived parenting competence influence that relationship. Using path analysis, results indicate maternal depression and parenting sense of competence mediate the relationship between child sexual abuse and outcome variables. Post hoc analyses indicated that child sexual abuse was significantly associated with decreased parenting sense of competence, controlling for depression. These results highlight that the pathways for increased risk in parenting outcomes for child sexual abuse survivors may be indirect and associated with beliefs of their own sense of competence and depression as opposed to a direct association with sexual abuse itself. Implications are discussed.