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.


Related Articles

  • THE BAD MOTHER. Talbot, Margaret // New Yorker;8/9/2004, Vol. 80 Issue 22, p63 

    Focuses on the increasing number of cases of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) in mothers in the U.S. Speculations on the risk factors of the disorder; Overview on some cases of MSBP; Implications for establishing standards on parenting.

  • THE STRANGEST STORY OF ABUSE. Zucker, Gina // Cosmopolitan;Apr2003, Vol. 234 Issue 4, p198 

    Focuses on the true story of a 18-year old girl, who was a victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. INSET: ONLINE FAKERS.

  • EXPERT WITNESSES IN THE DOCK. Gillen, Sally // Community Care;2/5/2004, Issue 1508, p32 

    Deals with the concerns raised on the weight of evidence presented by experts in British court cases that decide whether to remove children from their parents, following a diagnosis of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP). Refusal of the government to review cases involving deaths of children...

  • Prosecuting Mothers Who Maim and Kill: The Profile of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy Litigation in the Late 1990s. Prentice, Melissa A. // American Journal of Criminal Law;Summer2001, Vol. 28 Issue 3, p373 

    Addresses how a Munchausen Syndrome by proxy profile has developed as a diagnostic tool for medical and social services professionals and as a weapon to explain a mother's motive in maiming and killing children to help judges and jurors believe the unimaginable. Information on Munchausen...

  • How her mother hurt her...in the name of love. Berman, Laura // Redbook;Feb98, Vol. 190 Issue 4, p90 

    Relates the story of nurse Mary Bryk and how her mother abused her during childhood. How the abuse ended; Discovery that Bryk's mother is suffering from Munchausen by proxy syndrome. Therapy sessions undergone by Bryk. INSET: The mental illness known as Munchausen by proxy.

  • The investigation of life-threatening child abuse and Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Evans, Donald // Journal of Medical Ethics;Feb95, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p9 

    Examines the ethics of using covert video surveillance in the investigation of suspected life-threatening child abuse and Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Role of Local Research Ethics Committees (REC); Distinction between research and clinical practice; Case made by the North Staffordshire...

  • Diagnosing Munchausen syndrome by proxy.  // AIMS Journal;2004, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p22 

    Focuses on the diagnosis of Munchausen syndrome by proxy in Great Britain. Description of a severe breathing problems; Means of preventing child abuse; History of congenital abnormality.

  • Diagnosed Dangerous. Rogers, Patrick; Hannah, John; Dodd, Johnny; Hardy, Alexandra // People;12/9/2002, Vol. 58 Issue 24, p136 

    Kristi Yuille was led into a room at Children's Hospital in Seattle, Washington and given a few moments to say goodbye to Wyatt, the 6-month-old baby she and her husband Bob were in the final stages of adopting. Wyatt had bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, and on one occasion he simply stopped...

  • Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: Social Work's Role. Mercer, Susan O.; Perdue, Jeanette D. // Social Work;Jan93, Vol. 38 Issue 1, p74 

    Munchausen syndrome by proxy is the diagnosis used to describe a variation of child abuse whereby the parent or adult caregiver fabricates a medical history or induces symptoms in the child, or both, resulting in unnecessary examinations, treatments, hospitalizations, and even death. This...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics