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Am J Psychother. 1990 Oct;44(4):499-505.

Whatever became of the schizophrenogenic mother?

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  • 1University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington 40508.


From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, the concept of the "schizophrenogenic mother" was popular in the psychiatric literature. Research later confirmed that the mother who could cause schizophrenia in her offspring did not exist. Such a blame-levelling concept, which had no basis in scientific fact, may have caused a great deal of harm. Sociocultural factors, coupled with developments in psychiatric theory, contributed to the genesis of the concept. Implications of this episode in the history of psychiatry are discussed.

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