How do filicide offenders differ from other murderers?

May 29, 2009

People who commit filicide, the killing of their own child, are no more psychotically disordered than other homicide offenders. Research published in the open access journal BMC Psychiatry has shown that prevention of filicide cannot remain the task of psychiatry alone, but health care and society at large must work to prevent the danger.

Hanna Putkonen from Vanha Vaasa Hospital, Finland, worked with a team of Finnish researchers to compare the psychosocial history, index offence, and psychiatric morbidity of filicide offenders with other homicide offenders. She said, "The novel results of this nationwide study reinforce the general impression that filicide offenders are a distinct group of homicide offenders. However, they did not emerge as mentally disordered as has previously been supposed".

Filicide offenders were not as often intoxicated with alcohol during the crime and they had significantly less previous criminal offending than the homicidal controls. They were more likely to be employed and were not psychopaths. Half of the filicide offenders but none of the controls attempted suicide at the . According to Putkonen, "It seems filicide as a phenomenon is closely associated with suicide; perhaps at times it is even more about the suicide than the killing".

The researchers conclude that, although psychopathy was not a risk factor for filicide, the filicide offenders did exhibit emotional problems which should be noted as risk factors and that their signals distress. Putkonen said, "The filicide offenders might be people who are incapable of handling everyday difficulties. Parents who are severely fatigued or otherwise not able to cope must receive adequate support".

More information: Differences between homicide and filicide offenders; results of a nationwide register-based case-control study, Hanna Putkonen, Ghitta Weizmann-Henelius, Nina Lindberg, Markku Eronen and Helina Hakkanen
BMC Psychiatry (in press), www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpsychiatry/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: Goalkeepers prone to 'gambler's fallacy' but penalty takers fail to exploit it

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Female sex offenders often have mental problems

May 14, 2008

Women who commit sexual offences are just as likely to have mental problems or drug addictions as other violent female criminals. This according to the largest study ever conducted of women convicted of sexual offences in ...

Ignition locks reduce DWIs

Feb 11, 2008

Interlocks, breath-testing devices that prevent a vehicle’s ignition from starting if the driver is above a preset blood alcohol limit, can dramatically reduce driving-while-impaired (DWIs) offenses among first-time offenders, ...

Alcohol is a strong trigger of criminal violence

Dec 22, 2005

A study at Karolinska Institutet of 133 violent offenders in Sweden shows that 78 (58%) had consumed alcohol within 24 hours before the violent act. A large majority of the offenders were men with psychiatric ...

Recommended for you

Giving emotions to virtual characters

10 hours ago

Researchers at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM) were able to simulate human facial expressions in virtual characters and use them in order to create better environments within a virtual ...

Emotion-tracking software aims for "mood-aware" internet

11 hours ago

Emotions can be powerful for individuals. But they're also powerful tools for content creators, such as advertisers, marketers, and filmmakers. By tracking people's negative or positive feelings toward ads—via ...

The emotional appeal of stand-up comedy

11 hours ago

Comics taking to the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe this week should take note: how much of a hit they are with their audiences won't be down to just their jokes. As Dr Tim Miles from the University of Surrey has discovered, ...

User comments : 0