Neonaticide and infanticide are horrible crimes to most people but in psychology it's all relative.
Dr. Helen Gavin, a psychologist at the University of Huddersfield, and Dr. Theresa Porter, a clinical psychologist based at a hospital in Connecticut, think that such murderers are getting a bad rap in culture, so they wrote "Infanticide and Neonaticide: A Review of 40 Years of Research Literature on Incidence and Causes" for Trauma, Violence and Abuse to rationalize that women who kill their babies – either within 24 hours of birth (neonaticide) – or at a later stage (infanticide), are not simply simply monsters or psychotic or both. It's complex, they wrote.
“Historically, women who kill their babies, if discovered, were treated quite punitively, both by society and by the law,” says Gavin. “In recent years it has been realized that there are many more factors involved in killing your own infant than there are in killing another child or an adult. In the past, we have either described these women as bad or mad, but in fact, there are shades in between.”
If you killed your baby, maybe you are just misunderstood. Credit: University of Huddersfield.
The article’s authors conclude that there is a still a need for levels of understanding that could help prevent cases of child killing. But possible measures include the education of gynecologists, obstetricians and birthing unit staff so that they could spot warning signs. Also, the authors argue, “Open conversation with women regarding their and their family’s history of mental illness would assist in identifying some women with predispositions to psychosis.”
So now overwrought hospital employees might have to be tasked with knowing if someone is going to kill their baby. Katie Couric, an American television personality, famously tried to make that argument about Andrea Yates, who murdered her children one at a time in a bathtub. Couric blamed everyone but the murderer. But Couric was not going to be sued for making her claim, the way doctors and nurses will be.
Gavin and Dr Porter also believe that public service messages that would educate the public in recognizing warning signs and symptoms.
Their article has been selected for inclusion in the anthology "Current Perspectives in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Behavior." The editor of the anthology, Professor Anne Bartol, said that the paper “makes a significant contribution to the literature, and we believe students and professors using this supplementary text will find it helpful and informative”.
November 2014 will also see the publication of Female Aggression, co-authored by Gavin and Porter, which examines the evolution, development and expression of aggression in female animals and humans. The authors examine this phenomenon as an emotional, physical or psychological response to the world in its own right, “not merely as a pale imitation of male behavior”.
“Statistics suggest that female violence is the one form of crime that is growing. Nobody knows why, but there are several hypotheses and I want to investigate those.”
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Part I: Bee Deaths Mystery Solved? Neonicotinoids (Neonics) May Actually Help Bee Health
- Bitcoin And Anonymity: User's Identity Can Be Revealed Much Easier Than Thought
- Part II: Bee Deaths And CCD - Flawed Chensheng Lu Harvard Studies Endanger Bees
- Volunteer-Based Peer Review: A Success
- Violence, Sex And Taboo: The Original Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales Back In Print
- Diversity Fatigue: Why Businesses Struggle To Close The Gender Gap
- Strain 115 : The Killer Bacteria Inside Your Thanksgiving Turkey
- "Tommaso, there is a Review section here http://www.physicsoverflow.org/activity/refereeingI do..."
- "im sorry but this article is junk. i have worked in land care and environment for over 20 years..."
- "At three weeks into testing using these concentrations, the health of the bee colonies was positively..."
- "As someone who has received NIH funding, I can tell you the answer is magic and pure coincidence..."
- "I never thought of diminutive as having a positive or negative association. I often describe people's..."
- Why do people with autism see faces differently?
- Endangered hammerhead shark found migrating into unprotected waters
- Female color perception affects evolution of male plumage in birds
- Diagnosing deafness early will help teenagers' reading development
- 'Utter neglect' of rheumatic heart disease revealed by results from global study