Volume 1, number 2

Parental neglect is transmitted from one generation to the next

At the trial of Daniel Krafft and Deanna Richards in Valleyfield in March 2001, Quebecers were shocked to learn just how far parental neglect could go. Their two-month old baby, Francine Krafft, died of hunger in October 1996.

Parental neglect of children is not widely studied in psychiatry, but the scientific literature reports that many negligent parents were themselves neglected when they were children. However, there is very little information about the psychosocial mechanisms involved in this intergenerational transmission, and preventive interventions for this risk population are few and far between. Dr. Odette Bernazzani, a clinical instructor in the Psychiatry Department at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine and research fellow with the Quebec Health Research Fund (FRSQ), wants to study this question.

Dr. Bernazzi's research program at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital is designed to contribute to early prevention of transmission from one generation to the next of psychiatric disorders linked to parental emotional negligence. The expression "psychiatric disorder" is used in the broad sense and includes behavioural and developmental problems in children.

The research program targets pregnant women who are at risk and their infants, and includes two axes of research: identification of psychosocial factors involved in the intergeneration transfer of emotional problems and the development of a program of preventive interventions targeting pregnant women who were neglected during childhood and their children.

Researcher : Odette Bernazzani
Phone : (514) 252-3400, ext. 4783
Funding : Québec Health Research Fund
Source : Recherche en santé (Québec Health Research Fund).