Killing A Child: Neuropsychological Profiles of Murderers of Children

Nicole M. Azores-Gococo, Michael Brook, Saritha P. Teralandur, Robert E Hanlon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined neuropsychological characteristics of offenders who killed children. Although prior studies have focused on filicide and neonaticide, children are killed in a variety of contexts. This study used a diverse sample of individuals (N = 33) accused of killing one or more children, referred for forensic neuropsychological evaluation. Across all cognitive domains (intellectual functioning, attention/working memory/processing speed, memory, reasoning/executive functioning, language), mean scores fell in the low average to average range. Offenders who solely killed children were less likely to do so in a premeditated fashion, were more likely to use manual means (e.g., drowning or beating), and scored lower on measures of language and verbal memory, compared with those who also killed adults as part of the offense. Contrary to prior findings, few gender differences were evident in this group of offenders. Findings highlight meaningful heterogeneity in offenders who kill children, which may inform prevention, treatment, and risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)946-962
Number of pages17
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Volume44
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

Fingerprint

offender
Language
accused
language
Short-Term Memory
risk assessment
gender-specific factors
offense
evaluation
Group
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • child victims
  • cognitive functioning
  • homicide
  • neuropsychological assessment
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law

Cite this

Azores-Gococo, Nicole M. ; Brook, Michael ; Teralandur, Saritha P. ; Hanlon, Robert E. / Killing A Child : Neuropsychological Profiles of Murderers of Children. In: Criminal Justice and Behavior. 2017 ; Vol. 44, No. 7. pp. 946-962.
@article{0a94dfe6bd9c46a59dd0a4a3e74dbb7b,
title = "Killing A Child: Neuropsychological Profiles of Murderers of Children",
abstract = "This study examined neuropsychological characteristics of offenders who killed children. Although prior studies have focused on filicide and neonaticide, children are killed in a variety of contexts. This study used a diverse sample of individuals (N = 33) accused of killing one or more children, referred for forensic neuropsychological evaluation. Across all cognitive domains (intellectual functioning, attention/working memory/processing speed, memory, reasoning/executive functioning, language), mean scores fell in the low average to average range. Offenders who solely killed children were less likely to do so in a premeditated fashion, were more likely to use manual means (e.g., drowning or beating), and scored lower on measures of language and verbal memory, compared with those who also killed adults as part of the offense. Contrary to prior findings, few gender differences were evident in this group of offenders. Findings highlight meaningful heterogeneity in offenders who kill children, which may inform prevention, treatment, and risk assessment.",
keywords = "child victims, cognitive functioning, homicide, neuropsychological assessment, violence",
author = "Azores-Gococo, {Nicole M.} and Michael Brook and Teralandur, {Saritha P.} and Hanlon, {Robert E}",
year = "2017",
month = "7",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0093854817699437",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "44",
pages = "946--962",
journal = "Criminal Justice and Behavior",
issn = "0093-8548",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "7",

}

Killing A Child : Neuropsychological Profiles of Murderers of Children. / Azores-Gococo, Nicole M.; Brook, Michael; Teralandur, Saritha P.; Hanlon, Robert E.

In: Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 44, No. 7, 01.07.2017, p. 946-962.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Killing A Child

T2 - Neuropsychological Profiles of Murderers of Children

AU - Azores-Gococo, Nicole M.

AU - Brook, Michael

AU - Teralandur, Saritha P.

AU - Hanlon, Robert E

PY - 2017/7/1

Y1 - 2017/7/1

N2 - This study examined neuropsychological characteristics of offenders who killed children. Although prior studies have focused on filicide and neonaticide, children are killed in a variety of contexts. This study used a diverse sample of individuals (N = 33) accused of killing one or more children, referred for forensic neuropsychological evaluation. Across all cognitive domains (intellectual functioning, attention/working memory/processing speed, memory, reasoning/executive functioning, language), mean scores fell in the low average to average range. Offenders who solely killed children were less likely to do so in a premeditated fashion, were more likely to use manual means (e.g., drowning or beating), and scored lower on measures of language and verbal memory, compared with those who also killed adults as part of the offense. Contrary to prior findings, few gender differences were evident in this group of offenders. Findings highlight meaningful heterogeneity in offenders who kill children, which may inform prevention, treatment, and risk assessment.

AB - This study examined neuropsychological characteristics of offenders who killed children. Although prior studies have focused on filicide and neonaticide, children are killed in a variety of contexts. This study used a diverse sample of individuals (N = 33) accused of killing one or more children, referred for forensic neuropsychological evaluation. Across all cognitive domains (intellectual functioning, attention/working memory/processing speed, memory, reasoning/executive functioning, language), mean scores fell in the low average to average range. Offenders who solely killed children were less likely to do so in a premeditated fashion, were more likely to use manual means (e.g., drowning or beating), and scored lower on measures of language and verbal memory, compared with those who also killed adults as part of the offense. Contrary to prior findings, few gender differences were evident in this group of offenders. Findings highlight meaningful heterogeneity in offenders who kill children, which may inform prevention, treatment, and risk assessment.

KW - child victims

KW - cognitive functioning

KW - homicide

KW - neuropsychological assessment

KW - violence

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85020922985&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85020922985&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0093854817699437

DO - 10.1177/0093854817699437

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85020922985

VL - 44

SP - 946

EP - 962

JO - Criminal Justice and Behavior

JF - Criminal Justice and Behavior

SN - 0093-8548

IS - 7

ER -