Child Murder by Mothers: A Critical Analysis of the Current State of Knowledge and a Research Agenda
OBJECTIVE: Maternal filicide, or child murder by mothers, occursmore frequently in the United States than in other developednations. However, little is known about factors that conferrisk to children. The authors review the literature to identifypredictors of maternal filicide and identify gaps in knowledgeabout maternal filicide. METHOD: Databases were systematicallysearched for studies of maternal filicide and neonaticide (murderin the first day of life) that were conducted in industrializedcountries and were published in peer-reviewed, English-languagepublications after 1980. RESULTS: Women who committed filicidevaried greatly by the type of sample studied. Neonaticide wasoften committed by young, poor, unmarried women with littleor no prenatal care. CONCLUSIONS: The results of the reviewsuggest that little is known about the predictors of maternalfilicide and that a systematic, focused program of researchon reliable markers for maternal filicide is needed to betterprevent these events.