Sara Wyman

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wu, Kevin D.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Clinical psychology; Psychology; Personality psychology; Obsessive-compulsive disorder--Research; Personality disorders--Research; Perfectionism (Personality trait)--Psychological aspects--Research; Cognitive psychology--Research


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) have had a long history of being confused and confounded in the literature. The current study looks to shed light on the continuing debate about the relationship between OCD and OCPD by examining the role of one key variable, perfectionism, in the overlap between these two disorders. If perfectionism is what underlies some of the comorbidity/overlap between these disorders, that may suggest the need for the specific and thorough assessment of perfectionism in OCD rather than the broader assessment of OCPD. This study also seeks to contribute to the literature by exploring the nature of neuropsychological functioning in OCPD in order to better understand differences between OCD and OCPD, as well as to understand whether OCPD itself may be related to a cognitive style that is inflexible and rigid, and that therefore leads to impaired cognitive performance. At the same time, the potential for perfectionism as a trait to have an impact on neuropsychological functioning was also explored. This study found that OCPD traits were moderately related to OCD symptoms (r = .43); this remained true even after controlling for perfectionism and symptoms of depression and anxiety (beta = .247, p < .05). Perfectionism significantly predicted OCD symptoms only when the model did not include symptoms of depression and anxiety. Regarding executive functioning, results were in the opposite direction as predicted; increases in OCD symptoms and OCPD traits were both independently predictive of performance on a measure of set-shifting, after controlling for inhibition and working memory (betas = .210 and .189, respectively, ps < .05). Meanwhile, perfectionism demonstrated no significant associations with set-shifting.


Advisors: Kevin D. Wu.||Committee members: David J. Bridgett; David P. Valentiner.


100 pages




Northern Illinois University

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