As we examined research on the relational effects of incest on survivors, several researchers noted that some of the negative outcomes may be moderated by certain family characteristic variables. Using RELATE data, we examined a subsample of females and males who reported being survivors of incest in childhood and compared them on key family-of-origin processes such as mother and father's marital satisfaction as well as family violence. We used a path analysis to determine whether family processes, specifically functional parents' marriage and low physical violence, moderate the relationship between incest and marital quality in adulthood. Functional family-of-origin processes significantly moderated the relationship between sexual child abuse and adult marital quality for female survivors (β = -.55, p <.001) and for male survivors (β = -.43, p <.001). Therapists who work with survivors of sexual abuse should not only recognize the effects of childhood sexual abuse on individual and relational functioning, but should also recognize the familial context in which the incest occurred as well as the long-term relational effects on an adult survivor. The results of this study imply that family therapy should be part of the treatment and prevention of sexual abuse.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage and Family Therapy
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Baxter, Kathleen Diane, "The Relationship Between Frequency of Incest and Relational Outcomes with Family-of-Origin Characteristics as a Potential Moderating Variable" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 3923.
family-of-origin processes, incestuous trauma, marital quality