Factitious disorder by proxy: a call for the abandonment of an outmoded diagnosis

Mart, Eric G.
September 2004
Journal of Psychiatry & Law;Fall2004, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p297
Academic Journal
Factitious disorder by proxy (also referred to as Munchausen's syndrome by proxy) is a controversial diagnosis that generally involves the induction, falsification or exaggeration of medical symptoms in a victim by a caretaker. The syndrome is recognized as generally, but not exclusively, involving a mother and child. The author suggests that syndromatic terms for this type of child abuse are outmoded and should be abandoned in favor of an exact description of the suspected abusive behaviors in child dependency courts. Should there be a finding of abuse, the offending parent should be evaluated in terms of the major dynamics of her medically abusive behavior. Such evaluations should be utilized in the dispositional phase of child abuse proceedings and not employed for the proof of the matter.


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