Among six prisoners convicted of first-degree murder, remorseless physical brutality at the hands of the parents had been a constant experience for four of them. The most striking aspect of the interviews with the parents was the remarkable aptitude of these persons for evasive shifting of blame. This was followed by transparent evasions and calculated lying manifested by most of the parents. Factors of brutality come under the scrutiny of pediatricians and family physicians. Direct inquiry into the mode of punishment and discipline should be made by physicians whose practice includes the care of children. Intervention by physicians in known sadistic family patterns may well avert a later violent crime.
Duncan GM, Frazier SH, Litin EM, Johnson AM, Barron AJ. ETIOLOGICAL FACTORS IN FIRST-DEGREE MURDER. JAMA. 1958;168(13):1755–1758. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.03000130021006
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: