Dear Colleague: For this month, the NEARI Press newsletter article explored the risk factors for sibling incest. The study focused on etiological fac

   
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Dear Colleague:
For this month, the NEARI Press newsletter article explored the risk factors for sibling incest. The study focused on etiological factors, factors that predispose or protect against the occurrence of sibling incest. The study confirmed that the cumulate effective of four different factors may put a child at higher risk for sibling incest.

Again, the cumulative power is what the authors strongly noted. The study identified the following specific risk factors in decreasing predictive power: sharing a bed for sleeping with a sibling, parent-child incest, family nudity, low levels of maternal affection, and sharing a bath with a sibling. The study also noted that maternal affection was a protective factor against sibling incest.

We hope you find this newsletter compelling as much as we do in writing it. As always, if you have any other questions or suggestions for future newsletter topics, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,
Craig Latham, Executive Director, NEARI
and
Joan Tabachnick, Director, NEARI Press

Check out our NEW 2016-2017 NEARI Press Catalog!

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Risk Factors for Sibling Incest

by David S. Prescott and Joan Tabachnick

Authors
Karen Griffee, Sam Swindell, Stephen L O’Keefe, Sandra S Stroebel, Keith W Beard, Shih-Ya Kuo, & Walter Stroupe

The Question
What can we learn from a compressive view of risk factors for sibling incest?

The Research
The current research is the first systematic published epidemiologic study for sibling incest that is designed to identify etiologic risk factors. The authors collected retrospective data from 1,821 women and 1,064 men with one or more siblings from a predominantly college-age population. The factors below are etiological – factors that predispose or protect against the occurrence of sibling incest.

The study found that the risk factors for sibling incest are consistent with the cumulative effective of four types of parental behavior:
1. factors that lower external barriers to sexual behaviors (e.g., co-sleeping or co-bathing);
2. factors that encourage nudity in the family and allow children to see parent’s genitals;
3. factors that lead to siblings relaying on one another for affection (e.g., diminished parental affection); and
4. factors that eroticize young children (e.g., sexual abuse by a parent)

Of those interviewed, 137 experienced sibling incest. The risk factors identified (in decreasing predictive power) included: sharing a bed for sleeping with a sibling, parent-child incest, family nudity, low levels of maternal affection, and sharing a bath with a sibling. Of these participants, 38 identified themselves as having experienced coerced sibling incest. The risk factors, in decreasing predictive power included sharing a bed with a brother, parent-child abuse, witnessing parental fighting, and family nudity.

The authors noted that high levels of maternal affection protected against sibling incest and specifically protected daughters from becoming involved in brother-sister incest. No other protective factors were discussed.

The authors also acknowledge that sibling incest, like parent-child incest, is rarely reported to the police or child protective services. The results of this study showed that the abuse was more likely to have been reported if the sibling had touched the reporting child’s genitals and less likely to have been reported if the siblings had shared a bed.

Bottom Line: The study confirmed that the cumulative effect of four different factors may put a child at higher risk for sibling incest.

Implications for Professionals
While the field welcomes findings that help professionals understand the risk factors for sibling incest, the findings of this study should not be taken as a warning against close contact between siblings. Risk factors are not predictors of behavior and are often balanced by protective factors. While this study helps confirm the age-old maxim that “proximity can breed promiscuity” under the wrong circumstances, it also speaks to the importance of having involved and affectionate parents. For example, loving attention, guidance, and supervision when giving young siblings baths can be a part of good parenting. As welcome as these findings are, they are limited by not fully studying what protects siblings from incest, or situational factors such as family safety. Also not fully understood are the circumstances under which these risk factors may enable incest to occur. In the end, it is vital for professionals to develop a deep understanding of their client’s life experiences.

Implications for the Field
This is a well-conducted study in a complicated area involving painstaking interviewing and analysis; there have been few epidemiological studies involving random samples. It often seems that each advancement in research provokes as many questions as it answers. This study shows that some behaviors may aggravate or mimic risk, but many questions remain. In what situations might a trajectory to single-event or repeated sibling incest occur? After all, not all cases of sibling incest are the result of the same intentions, circumstances or impact. Some may develop out of curiosity or mimicry of what children have observed in their home, while other incidents may develop out of more overt acts of aggression involving callous/unemotional traits, etc. Still others may involve a combination of all of these factors. While this study provided critical new information about risk factors, this information needs to be combined with a deeper understanding of the underlying motivations for these sibling incest behaviors -- an essential element of treatment of these children.

Abstract
Retrospective data from 1,821 women and 1,064 men with one or more siblings, provided anonymously using a computer-assisted self-interview, were used to identify risk factors for sibling incest (SI); 137 were participants in SI. In order of decreasing predictive power, the risk factors identified by the multiple logistic regression analysis included ever having shared a bed for sleeping with a sibling, parent-child incest (PCI), family nudity, low levels of maternal affection, and ever having shared a tub bath with a sibling. The results were consistent with the idea that SI in many families was the cumulative result of four types of parental behaviors: (a) factors that lower external barriers to sexual behavior (e.g., permitting co-sleeping or co-bathing of sibling dyads), (b) factors that encourage nudity of children within the nuclear family and permit children to see the parent's genitals, (c) factors that lead to the siblings relying on one another for affection (e.g., diminished maternal affection), and (d) factors that eroticize young children (e.g., child sexual abuse [CSA] by a parent). Thirty-eight of the 137 SI participants were participants in coerced sibling incest (CSI). In order of decreasing predictive power, risk factors for CSI identified by multiple logistic regression analysis included ever having shared a bed for sleeping with a brother, PCI, witnessing parental physical fighting, and family nudity. SI was more likely to have been reported as CSI if the sibling had touched the reporting sibling's genitals, and less likely to have been reported as CSI if the siblings had shared a bed.

Citation
Griff, K., Swindell, S., O’Keefe, S.L., Stroebel, S.S., Beard, K.W., Kuo, S.Y., Stroupe, W. (2016). Etiological risk factors for sibling incest: Data from an anonymous computer-assisted self-interview. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 28, 620-659.

To print a pdf of this article, click NEARI NEWS.

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NEW 2016-2017 NEARI Press Catalog Now Available!

We would like to share our brand-new 2016-2017 NEARI Press catalog with you. The link to download the online version of the catalog is [here], or you can copy and paste the following URL into your browser. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2pSEohGdn5faGhkVk9NS0ZMYlk/view?usp=sharing

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NEW!! A Training Opportunity with Phil Rich, Ed.D., LICSW

Assessment of Juvenile Sexual Risk: Three-Day Certification

October 17-19, 2016

This three-day training course will provide instruction and practice experience in administration of sexual risk assessment for juveniles who have previously engaged in sexually abusive behavior. The course will cover the process of risk assessment, from theory, method, and instrumentation to case study and applied practice, including case formulation.

This training program is not a webinar, but will be occurring at the LaSalle School in Albany, NY.

For more information, please click here.

You can download the registration form for this training course here.

BECOME A WEBINAR SERIES SPONSOR

Please consider becoming a sponsor of our exciting 2016-2017 NEARI Press Webinar series. We will have a great lineup of nationally recognized authors including Phil Rich, Tim Kahn, David Prescott, Geral Blanchard, Anna Hanson, Steven Brown, among many others.

For $98 as an individual or $250 as an organization, we will guarantee your seat in the webinar AND you have access to CE credits. We do all of the work to sign you up each month, and, as a thank you for your essential support, we offer you two free NEARI Press books Current Perspectives and Current Applications, both edited by David Prescott and Robert Longo. We think that this is really a win-win situation for all of us.

For more information or to sign up, visit our website at info@nearipress.org or contact Diane Langelier at 413.540.0712 x14 or email her at info@nearipress.org.

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Volume 9, Issue 10: October 2016

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