Mothers with multiple illegitimacies

Carl P Malmquist, Thomas J. Kiresuk, Robert M. Spano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigations were carried out concurrently by a psychiatrist, psychologist, and social worker on 26 mothers who were pregnant with or had delivered their third (or more) illegitimate child at the time of the study. The data were then reviewed and integrated with attempts to offer etiological hypotheses and psychodynamic explanations. Psychometric data excluded mental deficiency as a significant contributory factor and suggested some incongruous data with respect to impulse control. The "48" and "84" profiles of the MMPI were present in 58 per cent of the mothers as the most typical profile. Standard diagnostic classification conveyed little of the multifarious trends which presented. Distortions in object relation with a narcissistic character structure provided the personality configuration for most of the women. Being scapegoated and humiliated were often noted as well as ego states of intense hatred which seemed to serve a defensive purpose against emptiness and longing. Despite the personal and social disadvantages, these mothers continued to function with a minimum of help from anyone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages16
JournalThe Psychiatric Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1967


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