Matricide and schizophrenia in the 21st century: a review and illustrative cases
Studies have shown an association between homicidal behaviour and psychiatric disorders although it remains difficult to conclude that definite causal relationships exist between specific mental illnesses and particular forms of homicide. However, matricide has been linked to schizophrenia for several decades with an assortment of explanations to explain the connection. To review the psychosocial, contextual and clinical issues involved in the perpetration of matricide by patients with schizophrenia. Two detailed case reports are presented alongside review of relevant literature. There are complex psychodynamic, phenomenological and contextual factors in the act of matricide by persons with schizophrenia. The observation that ambivalent relationships exist between schizophrenics and their mothers (or other carers) probably suggests the need for adequate clinical intervention with families of affected patients in resolving psychological tension which might be the provoking stimulus to murder.
Keywords: Schizophrenia; Matricide; Ambivalence; Psychodynamic factors