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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 164997 Find in a Library
Title: Illness Induction Syndrome: Paper I; A Series of 41 Children From 37 Families Identified at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect  Volume:20  Issue:8  Dated:(August 1996)  Pages:655-673
Author(s): J Gray; A Bentovim
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 19
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper presented preliminary findings on the features of four patterns of illness induction syndrome among children identified at a British hospital and the features of the children and their families; some of the implications of these findings for the identification, initial assessment, and management of illness induction within a pediatric setting are discussed.
Abstract: A total of 41 children from 37 families were identified as having had illness induced by a parent, who in all but three cases was the mother. Their case records were reviewed. Four patterns of presentation were identified: failure-to-thrive through the active withholding of food; allegation of allergy and withholding of food; allegation and fabrication of medical symptoms; and active interference by poisoning or disrupting medical treatment. Four of the children died, two as a result of the illness induction. In 35 percent of the families, a sibling had been previously subjected to some type of abuse. All the children had been presented with potentially serious symptoms; but in post- identification, only five were found to have serious medical problems that required ongoing treatment. There were no specific characteristics of either the child or family associated with each type of presentation. Seventeen children had previously presented with failure-to-thrive, feeding problems, or food allergies. All the mothers had suffered at least one of the following: privation, child abuse, psychiatric illness, or significant loss or bereavement; whereas, only half the fathers had grown up in a deprived family situation and/or had earlier or current health difficulties. Forty percent of the parents had serious marital problems. A combined medical/psychosocial team identified the abuse and attempted to understand the family's belief system regarding the illness. The process of illness induction was conceptualized as being initiated by the parents perceiving the child to be ill and using this focus on illness as a way of solving major personal, marital, and/or family difficulties. 4 tables, 1 figure, and 23 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Child abuse detection; England; Foreign criminal justice research; Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome
Note: Based on a paper presented at the Ninth International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect, Chicago, Ill., August 26-28, 1992.
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