Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1996-1



It is defined as the sexual activity between individuals who are genetically related.


Incest is considered a taboo sexual activity. Incest is derived from Latin word incestus which means unchaste. It is defined as “any sexual activity between close blood relatives who are forbidden by law to marry” (Kellogg 2005). The Cambridge English Dictionary also defines incest as “sexual activity involving people who are closely related and not legally allowed to marry” (Dictionary 2017). It is a worldwide neglected social issue both in developed and developing countries. As per a recent data from developing countries like India, nearly three out of ten registered cases of rape are due to incest, and it follows an increasing trend (Verma et al. 2017). Considering its rising trend, importance, and impact on the society, WHO classifies it as a silent health emergency (Organization 2004) and is underreported because of social taboo.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryKing George’s Medical UniversityLucknowIndia
  2. 2.Department of Forensic medicine & toxicologySCB Medical CollegeCuttackIndia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Joseph A. Camilleri
    • 1
  1. 1.Westfield State UniversityWestfieldUSA