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Child abandonment: Historical, sociological and psychological perspectives

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Even though the act of physical child abandonment is a relatively common occurrence, it remains an understudied social phenomena. It has been an act of parents since earliest times, but even in our modern enlightened society, children are still ejected from their homes and physically abandoned in frightening numbers. Even though attention has been directed toward the understanding and combating of the numerous variations of child abuse and neglect, the problem of physical abandonment is rarely discussed until sensationalistic news reports emerge to remind us that children are still left in parks or on street corners. To further understand this phenomena of child abandonment, this paper reviews the literature and examines the process from historical, sociological and psychological perspectives. This report looks to stimulate further interest in physical child abandonment and its precursor, psychological child rejection, as forms of child abuse and neglect which can and should be combated by proper psychiatric intervention.

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Correspondence to Michael H. Burnstein MD.

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Burnstein, M.H. Child abandonment: Historical, sociological and psychological perspectives. Child Psych Hum Dev 11, 213–221 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00706520

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  • Social Psychology
  • Early Time
  • Child Abuse
  • Common Occurrence
  • Numerous Variation