Cross-Cultural Issues in Infanticide: A Case Study

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Abstract

This article examines the case of a Mexican American woman who was found not guilty by reason of insanity for infanticide, the murder of her young son. A detailed case history is presented with a focus on cultural issues as they affect this woman's family dynamics, assimilation and acculturation, emotionality, spirituality, and seeking of mental health treatment. In addition, a theoretical conceptualization is presented, identifying the psychodynamic operations that laid the foundation for the crime, including the normal process of identity development and the mitigating factors of gender, culture, and psychopathology. The study explores the important influences of culture in the commission of this crime as well as in subsequent treatment, highlighting the changes in society and mental health treatment that need to be made to reduce the incidence of such family violence.

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