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September 1953

Maternal Care and Mental Health.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1953;86(3):392. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1953.02050080402017

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This is a survey of the evidence of the effects of maternal separation upon infants and children made for the World Health Organization by a well-known English child psychiatrist. It covers the effects of all types of separation from complete deprivation in the institutionally reared child to the variable deprivation of the child with an emotionally disturbed mother. There is also an excellent discussion of the causes of maternal separation (illegitimacy, working mothers, hospitalization of mother or child, death of mother, etc.) and the efficacy or lack of it of various maternal substitutes (adoption, boarding homes, group care).

This is the best summary of the effects of maternal deprivation that this reviewer has seen. Every pediatrician should be aware of its devastating effects, particularly during the first two years of life. There are many implications applicable to the general care of children and especially to the hospitalized child. Pediatricians will

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