A systems perspective on incest: Structures and interactive modes of functioning
Toma, Donna M.
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This study employed 28 adult incest survivors and 28 graduate students who completed a questionnaire containing information on the structures and modes of interaction within their families of origin. Included in this questionnaire was both The Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales (FACES-III) and The Family Interaction Schedule (FIS), two family assessment instruments. Additional information gathered contained data on demographics and the specifics of abuse. The results indicate that significant differences exist between incestuous and non-incestuous families on a number of dimensions. Incestuous families were characterized as having a greater incidence of alcoholism, lower levels of adaptability and lower levels of cohesion. In addition, the relationships between dyadic pairs within the incestuous family were found to contain greater levels of tension between parents and within the parent/child subsystems and lower levels of warmth between parents and the sibling subsystems. No differences were found between the victim's relationship with the mother as compared to the victim's relationship with the father. These results were discussed as they apply to a family systems theoretical framework.