, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 104-114

The effects of mother-son incest

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Parsons has popularized the myth that mother-son incest is the most damaging form of incest. A review of sixteen cases casts doubts on this belief. It was found that responses to this type of incest are multi-dimensional, representing an extraordinary range of behavior not foreseen by Parsons. This leads to the conclusion that motherson incest does not trigger some innate biological response, but that the effects are more directly related to the symbolic meanings attributed to this act by the participants.

Leslie Margolin received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Address reprint requests to Leslie Margolin, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.