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Risk Factors for Father–Daughter Incest: Data From an Anonymous Computerized Survey

Sandra S. Stroebel, Shih-Ya Kuo, Stephen L. O’Keefe, Keith W. Beard, Sam Swindell, and Martin J. Kommor.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment; December 2013, vol. 25, no.6, 583-605.


Retrospective data from 2,034 female participants, provided anonymously using a computer-assisted self-interview, were used to identify risk factors for father–daughter incest (FDI). A total of 51 participants had reported having experienced FDI. The risk factors identified within the nuclear family by the multiple logistic regression analysis included the following: (a) Having parents whose relationship included verbal or physical fighting or brutality increased the likelihood of FDI by approximately 5 times; (b) families accepting father–daughter nudity as measured by a scale with values ranging from 0 to 4 increased the likelihood of FDI by approximately 2 times for each unit value increase of 1 above 0; (c) demonstrating maternal affection protected against FDI. The likelihood of being a victim of FDI was highest if the participant’s mother never kissed or hugged her; it decreased by 0.44 for a 1-unit increase in affection and by 0.19 times for a 2-unit increase; and (d) being in homes headed by single-parent mothers or where divorce or death of the father had resulted in a man other than the biological father living in the home increased the risk of FDI by approximately 3.2 times. The results were consistent with the idea that FDI in many families was the cumulative result of a circular pattern of interactions, a finding that has implications for treatment of the perpetrator, the victim, and the families. The data also suggested it may be possible to design an information program for parents that will result in reducing the risk of FDI in families implementing the program’s recommendations.



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