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J Clin Psychol. 1998 Aug;54(5):679-87.

Maternal filicide: a cross-national comparison.

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William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute and University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia 29202, USA.


The present study is a review of 20 adult women charged with murdering their children who were referred to a forensic psychiatric hospital for pretrial evaluation. This study compares the demographic, historical, clinical, forensic, and offense characteristics of these women and their victims to samples of multinational, British, and Canadian filicidal women. The data depict a subset of women who suffered from a diagnosable mental disorder and were contending with many acute stressors in their lives with apparently insufficient personal resources or systemic support. The consistency of characteristics across countries suggests that women who kill their children are nonaddicted, married, low-income, mentally ill, new or recent mothers under 30 who, acting alone and without weapons, kill only one of their children, likely of preschool age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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