Friday, June 26, 2009

Parents Who Kill

The article by Drs Hatters-Friedman and Resnick (“Parents Who Kill: Why They Do It,” Psychiatric Times, May) was a clinically useful overview of filicide—particularly with respect to the motives that underlie this disturbing and tragic pattern of intrafamilial violence.

Lower IQ is associated with many neuropsychiatric disorders. Studies suggest that this may also be the case with filicide (Farooque R, Ernst FA. J Natl Med Assoc. 2003.) Therefore, psychological/neuropsychological testing, with rule-outs of borderline intellectual functioning and mild generalized cognitive disability (mild mental retardation), is advisable in cases where, following an act of filicide, the parent’s history and/or mental status suggest the possibility of lowered intellectual capacity. Such a finding is likely to have significant treatment planning and forensic implications.

Jerrold Pollak, PhD
Program in Medical and Forensic Neuropsychology
Seacoast Mental Health Center, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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