Infanticide: Psychosocial and Legal Perspectives on Mothers Who Kill

Infanticide: Psychosocial and Legal Perspectives on Mothers Who Kill

by Margaret G. Spinelli
     
 

ISBN-10: 1585620971

ISBN-13: 9781585620975

Pub. Date: 09/28/2002

Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing, Incorporated

Maternal infanticide, or the murder of a child in its first year of life by its mother, elicits sorrow, anger, horror, and outrage. But the perpetrator is often a victim, too.

The editor of this revealing work asks us to reach beyond rage, stretch the limits of compassion, and enter the minds of mothers who kill their babies -- with the hope that advancing the

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Overview

Maternal infanticide, or the murder of a child in its first year of life by its mother, elicits sorrow, anger, horror, and outrage. But the perpetrator is often a victim, too.

The editor of this revealing work asks us to reach beyond rage, stretch the limits of compassion, and enter the minds of mothers who kill their babies -- with the hope that advancing the knowledge base and stimulating inquiry in this neglected area of maternal-infant research will save young lives. Written to help remedy today's dearth of up-to-date, research-based literature, this unique volume brings together a multidisciplinary group of 17 experts -- scholars, clinicians, researchers, clinical and forensic psychiatrists, pediatric psychoanalysts, attorneys, and an epidemiologist -- who focus on the psychiatric perspective of this tragic cause of infant death.

This comprehensive, practical work is organized into four parts for easy reference: • Part I presents historical and epidemiological data, including a compelling discussion of the contrasting legal views of infanticide in the United States, United Kingdom, and other Western countries, a review of the latest statistics on maternal infanticide, and a discussion of the problems of underreporting and the lack of available documentation. • Part II covers the psychiatric, psychological, cultural, and biological underpinnings of infanticide, detailing how to identify, evaluate, and treat postpartum psychiatric disorders. The authors explore clinical diagnosis, symptom recognition, risk factors, biological precipitants, and alternative motives, such as cultural infanticide. Chapter 3, developed to assist the attorney or mental health professional in understanding the implications of postpartum psychiatric illness as they relate to infanticide, presents a sensitive and thorough inquiry into infanticidal ideation.• Part III focuses on contemporary legislation, criminal defenses, and disparate treatment in U.S. law and compares U.S. law with the U.K.'s model of probation and treatment. Chapter 8 is an especially useful resource for the attorney or expert psychiatric witness preparing for an infanticide/neonaticide case in the criminal court system.• Part IV discusses clinical experience with mothers as perpetrators and countertransference in therapy, the range of mother-infant interactions (from healthy to pathological), and methods of early intervention and prevention.

This balanced perspective on a highly emotional issue will find a wide audience among psychiatric and medical professionals (child, clinical, and forensic psychiatrists and psychologists; social workers; obstetricians/gynecologists and midwives; nurses; and pediatricians), legal professionals (judges, attorneys, law students), public health professionals, and interested laypersons.

American Psychiatric Publishing

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585620975
Publisher:
American Psychiatric Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/28/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Part I: Epidemiology and Historical Legal Statutes. A brief history of infanticide and the law. Epidemiology of infanticide. Part II: Biopsychosocial and Cultural Perspectives on Infanticide. Postpartum disorders: phenomenology, treatment approaches, and relationship to infanticide. Neurohormonal aspects of postpartum depression and psychosis. Denial of pregnancy. Neonaticide: a systematic investigation of 17 cases. Culture, scarcity, and maternal thinking. Part III: Contemporary Legislation. Criminal defense in cases of infanticide and neonaticide. Postpartum psychiatric disorders: medical and legal dilemmas. Infanticide in Britain. Part IV: Treatment and Prevention. How could anyone do that? A therapist's struggle with countertransference. The mother-infant relationship: from normality to pathology. The promise of saved lives: recognition, prevention, and rehabilitation. Index.

American Psychiatric Publishing

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