First Advisor

Hugo Maynard

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Mothers and daughters, Incest victims -- Attitudes, Families



Physical Description

1 online resource (65 p.)


Incest, and the problems arising from it, have increasingly come under the scrutiny of therapists and researchers. All family members are affected by incest and all have been studied. Victims are particularly devastated by sexual abuse by a family member but it is a commonly held belief that having a supportive mother can mitigate the trauma a victim experiences. In this study, girls between the ages of ten and eighteen who were the victims of sexual abuse by a father-figure were compared to a group of girls not thought to be incest victims. The incest victims were divided into two groups, those with supportive mothers and those with non-supportive mothers, with support being defined as belief that sexual abuse occurred and action taken to have the offender leave the home. The Family Concept Inventory was the basis of comparison. Family Effectiveness, the degree to which a test taker's ratings of his or her real and ideal families match professional therapists' ratings of the ideal family, and Family Satisfaction, the comparison of the Real and Ideal Family Effectiveness scores, are obtained from the Inventory. There was no statistically significant difference across the three groups 2 on any of the three measures. However, incest victims with nonsupportive mothers had significantly lower Real Family Effectiveness scores than did incest victims with supportive mothers and the control group. On Family Satisfaction the scores of incest victims with non-supportive mothers were lower than the scores of incest victims with supportive mothers, but this difference was not statistically significant. Incest victims with non-supportive mothers clearly view their families as less effective than do incest victims with non-supportive mothers and non-incest victims. However, they remain attached to their families and in need of them and cannot bear the thought of losing their families. This may explain, in part, the reason there was not a statistically significant difference in Family Satisfaction between the two groups of incest victims.


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