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April 1967

Incest: A Genealogical Study

Author Affiliations

Topeka, Kan

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;16(4):505-511. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730220117015

A VAST quantity of evidence has been gathered through anthropologic research to amply document the almost universal cultural prohibition of incest. In spite of this taboo which permeates both civilized and primitive society, there emerge in consummate form sporadic violations of this potent prohibition. Indeed, it is not unreasonable to believe that, because of the very taboo which surrounds incest, it is far more prevalent in our society than one would estimate on the basis of cases which come to general attention.

The barriers erected against the various forms of incest do not appear to be of equal intensity. It has been pointed out that the prohibition against mother-son incest is far more rigid than that aimed at fatherdaughter incest.1 This is demonstrated by the paucity of cases involving incest between mothers and sons when compared with the cases of incest involving fathers and daugh

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