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August 1972

Obsessions of Infanticide: A Review of 42 Cases

Author Affiliations

Lawrence, Kan
From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kan.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;27(2):235-240. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750260077011

Obsessions of infanticide were a central psychopathologic feature in 42 of 1,317 consecutive patient evaluations at a university medical center. Among these 42 patients, diagnoses were made of 17 as schizophrenic, 11 as depressive, and seven as obsessive-compulsive. Supportive psychotherapy as well as chemotherapy or convulsant therapy produced relatively prompt remission of symptoms.

Clinical and actuarial data suggested that premorbid character structure of the "borderline" type on one hand or severely obsessive-compulsive style on the other and biological stress, perhaps hormone related, were important determinants of the behavior disturbance.

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