The science of infanticide and mental illness

Citation
V. Dobson et B. Sales, The science of infanticide and mental illness, PSYCH PUB L, 6(4), 2000, pp. 1098-1112
Citations number
56
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Psycology
Journal title
PSYCHOLOGY PUBLIC POLICY AND LAW
ISSN journal
1076-8971 → ACNP
Volume
6
Issue
4
Year of publication
2000
Pages
1098 - 1112
Database
ISI
SICI code
1076-8971(200012)6:4<1098:TSOIAM>2.0.ZU;2-6
Abstract
Women who murder their children have been the subject of intensive media an d public scrutiny. Reactions have varied from horror at the cruelty of the act to sympathy for the perpetrator, based on the belief that the mother mu st have been severely mentally disordered or at least suffering from a dimi nished mental capacity at the time of the offense. As a result, the English and American legal systems have adopted very different legal responses to this crime. Underlying these legal positions are assumptions about the effe ct of childbirth on mental status and the relation of mental status to the legal criteria necessary to meet a legal defense (e.g., insanity) or necess ary to justify charging the offender with a lesser crime. This article crit ically considers the scientific knowledge on infanticide and mental illness to determine the appropriateness of these assumptions.