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J Forensic Sci. 2011 Mar;56(2):551-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2010.01645.x. Epub 2011 Jan 6.

Filicide, attempted filicide, and psychotic disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Universidade Federal Fluminense (MSM-UFF), Niterói, RJ, Brazil.


The objective of the study was to describe and discuss the cases of two women who faced criminal charges, one for attempting to murder her three children and the other for killing her 1-year-old boy. After a forensic psychiatric assessment of their level of criminal responsibility, these patients were considered not guilty by reason of insanity and were committed to forensic mental hospitals. These two patients received a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, according to the DSM-IV-TR criteria. In both cases, psychotic symptoms were present before the manifestation of violent behavior, in the form of persecutory delusions, auditory hallucinations, and pathological impulsivity. The investigation into cases of filicide may contribute powerfully to expand our understanding of motivational factors underlying this phenomenon and enhance the odds for effective prevention.

© 2011 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

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