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Can J Psychiatry. 1982 Apr;27(3):231-5.

Inter-generational transmission of incest.


The majority of reported incest cases involve sexual relations between one generation and another, the most common being father-daughter incest. The increased availability of clinical data on incest has revealed an aspect of the problem that has received little attention in clinical literature. Incest can involve three generations in a family rather than two. It is possible for incest to be "transmitted" from one generation to the next through several patterns. In some cases, the mother in a family of father-daughter incest has herself been a victim of incest with her own father. With a history of unresolved incest with their own fathers, these women are unable to prevent an incest relationship between their husbands and daughters. Another pattern involves situations where the father in the father-daughter incest relationship has been the victim of father-son incest in his youth. The psychodynamics of these patterns of intergenerational transmission of incest are described, with clinical examples from the authors' work, as well as from the literature.

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