Women with a history of incest : MMPI profile constellations

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Ritchey, Kathleen M.
Dixon, David N.
Issue Date
Thesis (Ph. D.)
Department of Counseling Psychology and Guidance Services
Other Identifiers

The current study assessed the effects of incest utilizing the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), an objective measure that can address such long term effects as low self esteem, isolation, depression, anxiety, suicidality, substance abuse, impaired sexual adjustment, psychosomatic concerns, and interpersonal relationship difficulties. Eighty-one women seeking counseling for issues related to an incestuous childhood, and 90 non sexually abused adult female clients completed the MMPI and a background information questionnaire.A Multivariate Analysis of Variance test comparing the mean profiles demonstrated that the incest group was more somatic, depressed, angry, anxious, and confused. A chi square analysis of two-point code type configurations found the incest group being more classified by the 48/84 and the 24/42 code types whereas the control group was more represented by the 46/64 code type. Lastly, the groups were compared by completing cluster analyses on each group's profiles. Both groups yielded an "overwhelmed" cluster that was statistically the same. Secondly, they each yielded a "normal" cluster that was similar but statistically different. Finally, the incest group yielded an "angry and confused" cluster and the control group yielded a "somatizer" cluster. Descriptions of the clusters and reasons for their differences are proposed.Differential impact was examined by comparing the incest clusters on number of abusers, use of threat or force, identity of the abuser, perceived betrayal by a non offending parent, length of time since abuse, and length of time in counseling. The only significant finding in these analyses was that the "overwhelmed" cluster had a greater number of abusers than the "angry and confused" and the "normal" clusters.The first two analyses were included in the study to validate the similarity of the present data with previous research and to demonstrate the myopic vision that results from analyzing the data in these manners. The cluster analysis allowed for the examination of the differential impact of the numerous long term sequalae. Recommendations for further research are presented as well as implications for treatment.