Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type


First Advisor



Research on incestuous child abuse (ICA) has focused primarily on father-daughter incest (FDI), and to a lesser extent, on stepfather-daughter incest (SFDI). The sparse research on brother-sister incest (BSI) indicates that it is not only at least as prevalent as FDI and SFDI, but that the seriousness of the abuse and the long-term impacts are greater. At the same time, research over the past few decades has increasingly noted the relationship between childhood sexual abuse as a risk factor for girls‟ and women‟s offending. The current study uses two selfreport survey samples, one of incarcerated women and the other of incarcerated girls, to compare the respondents‟ FDI, SFDI, and BSI rates and whether these rates are related to outcome variables such as alcohol/drug use and problems, self-esteem, self-harming behaviors, and for the sample of girls, likelihood of a pregnancy. The findings in this study indicate not only exceptionally high sexual victimizations by fathers, stepfathers, and brothers, but that among the incarcerated women, brothers sexually abuse more often and at more serious levels than fathers and stepfathers. The incarcerated women‟s and girls‟ likelihood of drug/alcohol, self-esteem, and self-harming behaviors were very much related to ICA, particularly ICA perpetrated by brothers, and if the women/girls had multiple (father, stepfather, or brother) abusers.