Professional News
Five Major Motives of Maternal Filicide Perpetrators*
Psychiatric News
Volume 46 Number 20 page 25-25

  • Altruistic filicide: a mother kills her child out of love; she believes death to be in the child's best interest (includes maternal filicide-suicide cases).

  • Acutely psychotic filicide: a psychotic or delirious mother kills her child without any comprehensive motive (perhaps accompanied by command hallucinations).

  • Fatal maltreatment filicide: death is usually not the anticipated outcome; it results from cumulative child abuse, neglect, or Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

  • Unwanted-child filicide: a mother thinks of her child as a hindrance.

  • Spouse revenge filicide: occurs when a mother kills her child to emotionally harm that child's father.


  • * Adapted from definitions by Friedman and Resnick, 2007 25.inline-graphic-1.gif

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