Dr. Phillip Resnick, who published research on filicide in 1969, stated that there were five main motives for filicide, including “altruistic,” “fatal maltreatment,” “unwanted child,” and “spousal revenge.”
Altruistic killings occur because the parent believes the world is too cruel for the child or because the child is enduring suffering (whether this is actually occurring or not). In fatal maltreatment killings, the goal is not always to kill the child but death may occur anyway, and Munchausen syndrome by proxy is in that category. Spousal revenge killings are killings of children done to indirectly harm a domestic partner; they do not frequently occur. Glen Carruthers, author of “Making sense of spousal revenge filicide,” argued that those who engage in spousal revenge killings see their own children as objects.