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The Guilt Reaction of Parents of Children with Severe Physical Disease
RICHARD A. GARDNER
Am J Psychiatry 1969;126:636-644.
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Instructor in child psychiatry, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, and is on the faculty, William A. White Psychoanalytic Institute, New York, N. Y.

1970, American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The author studied 23 parents to test the hypothesis that psychological processes other than the classical process might explain the inappropriate guilt reaction of parents of severely ill children. Some of the parents did suffer guilt for reasons described by the classical process—i.e., it was related to unconscious hostility toward the child—but the guilt of some of the others is more readily explained by the alternative hypothesis that it represents an attempt at control of the uncontrollable. In some parents neither mechanism seemed to be operative.

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guilt ; parent
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