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Murdering mothers


Murdering mothers



American Journal of Psychiatry 116: 447-452



ISSN/ISBN: 0002-953X

PMID: 13840024

DOI: 10.1176/ajp.116.5.447

Five cases of filicide committed by mothers are reported. Filicide remains an abnormality, primarily restricted to the female. Faulty relationships to either parent or extremely poor marital adjustment, or both, were present in each case. Four cases were combined with serious suicidal attempts, and a feeling of general inadequacy and inability to raise children was admitted by all mothers. All 5 appeared regretful of the act and state that they would never repeat it. The disparity between logic and affectivity was so strong in each case during commitment of the act that a diagnosis of schizophrenic break was justified in all 5. Motivations of punishment, revenge and secondary gain, as usually seen in ordinary murders were, to all appearances, completely absent. The primarily conceived suicidal attempts of the mothers rule these out almost logically. Thus, the suicidal attempts in no way represent an escape from the legal consequence of having done away with human life. A general feeling of unacceptance led to the suicide, and the "total-all" [long dash]including anything that belonged to the mother[long dash]had to abandon earthly existence, hence the combined filicide-suicide. Two cases involved 2 and 3 victims, respectively, the remainder one each. The mode of killing differed: two cases of shooting, one each of choking, poisoning and drowning. Ages of mothers ranged from 27 years to 47 years, of victims from 3 to 14 years.

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Accession: 025045594

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