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A term introduced in 1945 by the Austrian psychoanalyst René A(rpad) Spitz (1887–1974) to denote the physical and psychological effects on an infant (up to 18 months old) of prolonged and total separation from its mother, due to hospitalization or some other similar cause. According to Spitz, the characteristics include retarded physical development and disruption of perceptual-motor skills and language. See also anaclitic depression, attachment theory, maternal deprivation, separation anxiety, separation anxiety disorder.

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