Post-traumatic stress disorders in women who experienced childhood incest

Child Abuse Negl. 1985;9(3):329-34. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(85)90028-6.


Symptoms exhibited in a clinical population of 17 women who had experienced childhood or adolescent incest appear to fit the features of a chronic and/or delayed post-traumatic stress disorder. These women, entering individual therapy an average of 17 years after the abuse had ended, ranged in age from 24 to 44. All regarded their incest experience as the most damaging event of their lives, and had manifested, in adulthood, such symptoms as intrusive imagery of the incest, feelings of detachment or constricted affect, sleep disturbance, guilt, and intensification of symptoms when exposed to events resembling the incest trauma. Treatment included establishment of trust, expression of feelings, guilt reduction through an understanding of family dynamics and acquisition of new, adaptive behaviors.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Guilt
  • Humans
  • Incest*
  • Psychotherapy / methods
  • Sex Offenses
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy