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July 1959

Obsessions of Infanticide

Author Affiliations

Kansas City, Mo.
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Lawrence-Kansas City, Kan.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1959;1(1):12-16. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1959.03590010028004

A particular type of obsession which occurs in women is the fear that they may murder their children. It is usually coupled with an obsessive dread of incipient insanity. These two obsessions complement each other, the patients fearing that ideas of murdering their children must, of necessity, indicate insanity, and that it is the insanity which will lead to the unnatural act of infanticide.

I have had the opportunity of observing over the past five years 20 such patients, who provide the clinical material for this study. Six of the patients were seen diagnostically only, and fourteen others were followed in treatment. Sufficient similarity exists in the clinical picture and course of these patients to permit a discussion of their obsessive illnesses as a fairly distinct entity in the field of obsessive pathology. Discussion with colleagues has indicated that this clinical problem occurs with sufficient frequency

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