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Analysis of the Relationship Between Neonaticide and Denial of Pregnancy Using Data From Judicial Files

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 36 Issue: 7-8 Dated: July/August 2012 Pages: 553-563
Natacha Vellut; Jon M. Cook; Anne Tursz
Date Published
August 2012
11 pages
This study examined the relationship between denial of pregnancy and perpetration of neonaticide in a sample of French mothers.
Findings from the study include the following: of the 32 cases of neonaticide examined for the study, 24 of the cases were solved by police investigation, and while only 2, or perhaps 3, of the pregnancies were undiscovered until birth and some of the pregnancies were experienced in secrecy, none of the pregnancies involved typical denial of pregnancy. The study also found that most of the mothers did not use contraception, and while psychopathalogy was rare, the mothers did share a similar personality profile that included immaturity, dependency, weak self-esteem, absence of affective support, and psychological isolation. This study in France examined 32 cases of neonaticide to determine whether denial of pregnancy was related to the occurrence of neonaticide. Data for the study were obtained from the 32 case files that occurred in 3 regions of the country over a 5-year period. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were used to investigate whether women who had committed neonaticide were also more likely to deny the existence of the pregnancy. The findings of the study indicate that examination of only court records is not sufficient to determine the frequency of the association between denial of pregnancy and neonaticide. The findings also indicate that the definition used to describe denial of pregnancy has implications for policy and practice regarding women's health care and the justice system. Table and references


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