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Johnson, A.M. Szurek, S.A. (1952). The Genesis of Antisocial Acting out in Children and Adults. Psychoanal Q., 21:323-343.

(1952). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 21:323-343

The Genesis of Antisocial Acting out in Children and Adults

Adelaide M. Johnson, M.D. and S. A. Szurek, M.D.

SUMMARY

In this paper the authors have assimilated material from their experience and publications since 1942, dealing with the etiology of acting out antisocially. The observations apply equally to the young 'delinquent' or the 'psychopathic personality' of later years, who is etiologically a delinquent grown older. By means of collaborative therapy of children and parents the authors have observed that the parents may unwittingly seduce the child into acting out the parents' own poorly integrated forbidden impulses, thereby achieving vicarious gratification. A specific superego defect in the child is seen as a duplication of a similar distortion in the organization of a parent's own personality. The outcome is doubly destructive toward the child's and the parent's ego organization, unless adequate therapy of both is provided.

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