Psychiatric correlates of incest in childhood

Elizabeth F. Pribor*, Stephen H. Dinwiddie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

201 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of the study was to describe more precisely the type of psychiatric illness associated with incest during childhood. Method: The Diagnostic Interview Schedule was administered to 52 adult women who had been victims of incest during childhood and to 23 age- and race-matched comparison subjects from local self-help agencies. Results: The prevalence of 19 psychiatric disorders was higher in the incest group than base population rates. Rates of anxiety disorders (panic disorder, agoraphobia, social and simple phobia), major depression, and alcohol abuse and dependence were significantly higher in the incest group than in the comparison group. More severe types of incestuous abuse were associated with a higher risk for the development of psychiatric disorders. Conclusions: There was an association between incest and psychiatric disorders in this community-based treatment population. All patients, especially those who present with these specific psychiatric disorders, should be queried about childhood sexual abuse during the history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-56
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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