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Child Abuse Negl. 1994 Sep;18(9):773-88.

Munchausen syndrome by proxy: a study of psychopathology.

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Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, St. James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK.


Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (the fabrication of illness by a mother in her child) is often a serious form of child abuse that has been recognized increasingly over recent years. Approximately one-half of the mothers in this study had either smothered or poisoned their child as part of their fabrications. Lifetime psychiatric histories are reported for 47 of the mothers. Thirty-four had a history of a Factitious or Somatoform disorder, 26 a history of self harm, and 10 of alcohol or drug misuse. Nine mothers had a forensic history independent of convictions related to child abuse. Nineteen of these mothers were interviewed from 1-15 years after the original fabrications. The most notable psychopathology was the presence of a personality disorder in 17 of the mothers, which were predominantly Histrionic and Borderline types. Most subjects, however, met the criteria for more than one category of personality disorder.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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