Document Detail

Female serial killing: review and case report.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16838388     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Single homicide committed by women is rare. Serial killing is very infrequent, and the perpetrators are usually white, intelligent males with sadistic tendencies. Serial killing by women has, however, also been described. AIM: To conduct a review of published literature on female serial killers and consider its usefulness in assessing a presenting case. METHOD: A literature review was conducted, after searching EMBASE, MEDLINE and PsycINFO. The presenting clinical case is described in detail in the context of the literature findings. Results The literature search revealed few relevant publications. Attempts to categorize the phenomenon of female serial killing according to patterns of and motives for the homicides have been made by some authors. The most common motive identified was material gain or similar extrinsic gratification while the 'hedonistic' sadistic or sexual serial killer seems to be extremely rare in women. There is no consistent theory of serial killing by women, but psychopathic personality traits and abusive childhood experiences have consistently been observed. The authors' case did not fit the description of a 'typical' female serial killer. DISCUSSION: In such unusual circumstances as serial killing by a woman, detailed individual case formulation is required to make sense of the psychopathology in each case. Publication of cases in scientific journals should be encouraged to advance our understanding of this phenomenon.
Andreas Frei; Birgit Völlm; Marc Graf; Volker Dittmann
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Legal Cases; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Criminal behaviour and mental health : CBMH     Volume:  16     ISSN:  0957-9664     ISO Abbreviation:  Crim Behav Ment Health     Publication Date:  2006  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-09-04     Completed Date:  2006-10-19     Revised Date:  2009-11-03    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9309668     Medline TA:  Crim Behav Ment Health     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  167-76     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright (c) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Forensic Psychiatric Services, Psychiatric Hospital Lucerne, Kantonsspital, 6000 Lucerne, Switzerland.
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MeSH Terms
Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
Forensic Psychiatry / methods
Homicide / legislation & jurisprudence*,  statistics & numerical data*

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