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Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP), also known as “factitious disorder by proxy,” is a mental illness in which a person lies about the physical or mental well-being of a person he/she is responsible for (The Cleveland Clinic, 2008). Most often the dynamic transpires between a mother and her child. The motivation behind MSBP is that the adult seeks the attention typically given to those who are sick, and attempts to get the attention by causing or lying about illness in his/her child. MSBP is a type of child abuse and can result in long-term physical and psychological effects or even death (Roesler & Jenny, 2009). ...

The mental illness of MSBP is a label given to adults, and MSBP as well as its cousin Munchausen Syndrome (in which individuals feign disease, illness, or psychological trauma in themselves to draw sympathy) are both adult-onset disorders. However, children are affected severely by this disorder, as evidenced by the above case study. Children who are abused by MSBP often are chronically absent from school, are subjected to numerous, painful, unnecessary medical procedures, are physically and mentally abused by parents, and suffer long-term psychological damage if they survive the abuse (Sheridan, 2003).


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National Association of School Psychologists