Incest is a term which has a different meaning in Psychology and a different meaning in law. In law it means sex between two adults with consent but they are prohibited by law to get married as they have close blood relationships. However in Psychotherapy it means sexual abuse of minors who have close relationships with the abuser. These victims can be biological children, adopted children and even supervised children over whom the abuser has control. The main caregiver in a child’s life has a very important role to play; the caregiver provides the child with the basic necessities of life and hence becomes emotionally attached. The problem arises when the provider also abuses the child. This causes intense neuropsychological trauma to the victim.

It is difficult to say whether the mere adoption causes incest, as it is not the major cause of incest, there are specific social circumstances that lead to sexual abuse. The society creates such conditions that foster abuse, but the most important influence is the family itself. Families that show signs of sexual abuse have some characteristics. These characteristics have been gathered over many generations. The incestuous families are usually deeply religious, have high degrees of psychopathology, neurodegenerative illnesses, substance abuse, alcoholism, little educational background and children with low grades in schools. These symptoms and consequences of sexual abuse are common in many families with recorded sexual abuse history in America.

However there are no certain traits or characteristics to spot incest in a family, even normal families might display such characteristics and not have any history of incest in the household. It has been recorded that abusive parents do seem to be normal at times in all aspects. Many of these abusers like children, play with them at times, guide them in life, teach them morally, protect them from danger, and are even willing to adopt poor and orphaned children. These abusers are known to sexually interact with both genders as in girls and boys. This falsifies the wrong notion that girls are abused much more than boys.

These days it is hard to say that incest is not common, sexual abuse between parents and children is common amongst American households.Therefore even though behavioral traits are not a clear indication of incest, the consequences or impacts of abuse on the children can be identified. The perfect way to find out whether or not a child is being abused by a parent is to study the whole family simultaneously. Each individual may not show the signs of incest, but the whole family does.


Parents or caregivers in this household can be either Pedophiles or normal people. However the abusers are usually heterosexual and may victimize both male and female children. Therefore to say that adoption itself can cause incest is a vague statement, adoption can be or might be one of the causes of incest but in no case can it be the only or primary cause.

Incest is caused because of many reasons which we have discussed above, there is a psychological aspect to it at times, and at times it happens because parents make mistakes but there is no clear evidence that identifies that adoption itself causes incest. In fact adopted kids are usually much better off than those who are in foster care, adopted children most of the time have the opportunity to a better life. However adopted kids at times are victimized by incest, hence adoption agencies should be more careful in their search for adopting families, and parents who want to give their children up for adoption should be also. Even though there is not a strong causation between adoption and incest, it does not hurt to be too careful.