Maternal infanticide associated with mental illness: prevention and the promise of saved lives.

  title={Maternal infanticide associated with mental illness: prevention and the promise of saved lives.},
  author={Margaret G. Spinelli},
  journal={The American journal of psychiatry},
  volume={161 9},
  • M. Spinelli
  • Published 1 September 2004
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • The American journal of psychiatry
OBJECTIVE Although maternal infanticide is a rare event, a high proportion of cases occurs in the context of postpartum mental illness. The author reviews historical, legislative, and contemporary psychiatric perspectives on infanticide and discusses ways in which the psychiatric community can improve prevention of infanticide and promote appropriate treatment of mentally ill women who commit infanticide. METHOD The case of Texas v. Andrea Yates, involving a mother with mental illness who… 

Infanticide and American criminal justice (1980–2018)

  • M. Spinelli
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Archives of Women's Mental Health
  • 2018
It is suggested that it is time to invite psychiatrists and psychologists as clinicians and scientists to partner with legal representatives in the courtroom in order to determine laws based on psychiatric facts and not conjecture.

Infanticide: contrasting views

  • M. Spinelli
  • Psychology
    Archives of Women’s Mental Health
  • 2005
This work illustrates the intricate relationship between a society’s construction of parenthood and mothering, and its experience of infanticide, and investigates culture specific attitudes towards causes, facilitation, and punishment of this tragic cause of infant mortality.

Factors affecting juror decision-making in infanticide and insanity cases

LITERATURE REVIEW Infanticide, the murder of a child aged between 24 hours and 12 months, dates back to Ancient Greece, where it was primarily used for population control. It still occurs in modem

Recurrent post partum depression and infanticide. A case report

This case is presented of a 40 years old women diagnosed with post partum depression who committed infanticide after the birth of her seventh child who had a history of psychiatric disorder in relation with previous pregnancies.

Understanding maternal mental illness: psychiatric autopsy of a maternal death.

  • H. Chen
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Singapore medical journal
  • 2012
The case highlights the burden of maternal mental illness in the community as well as the need for resources and services to care well for mothers, and a better understanding of its presentation and risk factors can reduce morbidity and mortality.

Ambivalence toward mothers who kill: an examination of 45 U.S. cases of maternal neonaticide.

Public opinion about neonaticide (the killing of a newborn within the first 24 hours of life) has varied across time and cultures. Some nations have passed legislation on behalf of maternal offenders


Maternal filicide, the murder of a child by its mother, is a complex phenomenon with various causes and characteristics. Research, by means of the development of several classification systems and in

Maternal Neonaticide Following Traumatic Childbirth

  • M. NescaJ. T. Dalby
  • Psychology, Medicine
    International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology
  • 2011
PTSD is a viable mitigating factor to be examined in legal defenses of infanticide either in isolation or in conjunction with other factors, and is presented as a case of maternal neonaticide that was directly linked to PTSD without any other concomitant mental disorder.

Reflections on the care delivered in a suspected case of infanticide.

This study aimed to find support in scientific literature about infanticide, point out an interdisciplinary health team's affliction and uncertainties when faced with this kind of case and suggest strategies for dealing with these feelings and their possible consequences in dealing with this case.

Rationalizing Infanticide: A Medico-Legal Assessment of the Criminal Code ’s Child Homicide Offence

This article involves a discussion of the proper scope and interpretation of the Criminal Code provisions relating to the offence of infanticide. A review of the legislative history indicates that



Infanticide. Psychosocial and Legal Perspectives on Mothers Who Kill

  • M. Spinelli
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Archives of Women's Mental Health
  • 2003
This book examines the Epidemiology and Historical Legal Statutes, Biopsychosocial and Cultural Perspectives on Infanticide, and the mother-infant relationship: from normality to pathology.

Mothers Who Kill Their Children: Understanding the Acts of Moms from Susan Smith to the "Prom Mom"

A special kind of horror is reserved for mothers who kill their children. Cases such as those of Susan Smith, who drowned her two young sons by driving her car into a lake, and Melissa Drexler, who

Postpartum psychiatric illness : a picture puzzle

This volume contains a number of essays which support the position that postpartum disorders are primarily organic and are mainly disorders of hormonal deficit, which develop as the endocrine system falls back from the hyperactivity of pregnancy toward or beyond the levels of the prior non-pregnant state.

Underascertainment of child abuse mortality in the United States.

Using medical examiner data, it is found that significant underascertainment of child abuse homicides in vital records systems persists despite greater societal attention to abuse fatalities.

Motherhood and mental health

This book sets out to examine the great variety of disorders which occur during pregnancy and the post-partum period, and which make childbearing the most complex psychological event in human experience.

Mothers Who Kill: Coming to Terms With Modern American Infanticide

plans on their own. Instead, upon discovering that they are pregnant, most girls seek the assistance of a parent, friend, or counselor.279 Equipped with this support, the girls decide to have the

Risk factors for infant homicide in the United States.

Childbearing at an early age was strongly associated with infant homicide, particularly if the mother had given birth previously, and the findings may have implications for prevention.

Murder of the newborn: a psychiatric review of neonaticide.

  • P. Resnick
  • Psychology
    The American journal of psychiatry
  • 1970
The author believes that the killing of a newborn baby is a separate entity from other filicides, differing in regard to the diagnosis, motives, and legal disposition of the murderer. Whereas most

Epidemiology of Puerperal Psychoses

Investigation of the temporal relationship between childbirth and psychiatric contact in a population of 470 000 people over a 12-year period concluded that puerperal psychoses are manic depressive illnesses and unrelated to schizophrenia.

Postpartum Psychiatric Syndromes

  • F. Melges
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Psychosomatic medicine
  • 1968
A study of 100 postpartum patients pointed to a syndrome comprised of feelings of shame, helplessness, and confusion, which may be accentuated in the puerperium by the neonate's incapacity to specify guidelines for his care.