Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 167–174 | Cite as

Potential predictors in neonaticide: the impact of the circumstances of pregnancy

  • Sabine Amon
  • Hanna Putkonen
  • Ghitta Weizmann-Henelius
  • Maria P. Almiron
  • Anton K. Formann
  • Martin Voracek
  • Markku Eronen
  • Jenny Yourstone
  • Max Friedrich
  • Claudia M. KlierEmail author
Original Article


This study aims to evaluate the psychosocial factors of neonaticide, especially the circumstances before delivery, the relationships of the pregnant women, and their social environment awareness of women's pregnancy. This nationwide study was register-based, comprising all known neonaticides in Austria and Finland between 1995 and 2005. Cases (n = 28) were obtained by screening the death certificates from coroner's departments and by analyzing them along with all further available reports. Few women (17.9 %, 5/28) admitted their pregnancy to others. Although most (16/28) offenders were in a relationship, the partner had knowledge of the pregnancy in only three cases. The main motive for negation of the pregnancy (named in 60.8 % of cases) was fear of abandonment/negative response from others. The fertility rate among the women was high, but half of those with children had lost the custody of them. In neonaticide, the lack of awareness surrounding offenders' pregnancy, as well as the awareness of social environment, is more relevant than any other social variable.


Neonaticide Negation of pregnancy 



Ethical approval was granted in Austria by the Austrian Ethics Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Medical University of Vienna; and in Finland by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman, the Ethics Committee for Pediatrics, and the Adolescent Medicine and Psychiatry of Helsinki University Central Hospital. The Austrian Project was funded by the Austrian National Bank (Jubiläumsfonds AP 12200 ÖNB).

Conflict of interest

The authors have no financial interests associated with the funding sponsor for this research, and thus, the authors declare that no conflict of interest exists with respect to this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine Amon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hanna Putkonen
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ghitta Weizmann-Henelius
    • 3
  • Maria P. Almiron
    • 5
  • Anton K. Formann
    • 2
  • Martin Voracek
    • 2
  • Markku Eronen
    • 3
  • Jenny Yourstone
    • 6
  • Max Friedrich
    • 1
  • Claudia M. Klier
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Vanha Vaasa HospitalVaasaFinland
  4. 4.National Institute for Health and WelfareHelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.British EmbassyPanama CityPanama
  6. 6.Centre for Violence PreventionKarolinska InstituteStockholmSweden
  7. 7.Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent MedicineMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria

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