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Jacobs, T.J. (2015). An Anniversary Reaction in a Four-Year-Old Child. Psychoanal Q., 84(2):463-468.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 84(2):463-468

Brief Communications

An Anniversary Reaction in a Four-Year-Old Child

Theodore J. Jacobs

The anniversary reaction is a well-known phenomenon. Although in recent years few contributions dealing with this aspect of unconscious mental functioning have appeared in our journals, the older literature contains a sizable number of articles dealing with various aspects of this intriguing topic (Haesler 1986; Hull, Lane, and Gibbons 1993; Mintz 1971; Pollock 1971; Seitz 1975; Wallerstein 1967).

In searching the literature, I have not come across mention of an anniversary reaction in a young child. Some of the above-noted authors, as well as others, have observed that emotional trauma in childhood can give rise later in life to anniversary reactions related to those childhood experiences (Hull, Lane, and Gibbons 1993; Pollock 1971; Seitz 1975). The occurrence of an anniversary reaction in early childhood, however, has not to my knowledge been described.

In this brief communication, I will offer an example of what I believe is an example of just such a reaction. Some colleagues may question whether a child of four, with her comparatively immature brain, is capable of processing the passage of time in such a way as to give rise to a true anniversary reaction. I myself have had questions about that very issue.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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