Infantilism


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.

infantilism

[′in·fən·tə‚liz·əm]
(medicine)
Persistence of physical, behavioral, or mental infantile characteristics into childhood, adolescence, or adult life.

Infantilism

 

arrested development, the preservation in adults of physical and mental characteristics of children. It may be caused by infectious diseases (tuberculosis, syphilis, malaria, or various recurrent infections), poisoning, diseases of the brain, cardiovascular system, and kidneys, or protracted intestinal disorders. Poor diet, vitamin deficiency, and unsanitary living conditions can also cause infantilism. Endocrine disorders and congenital constitutional defects are also related to its occurrence.

A distinction is made between universal infantilism (general retarded development of the entire body) and partial infantilism (retarded development of certain organs and systems). Individuals suffering from universal infantilism often retain the body proportions of a child. They have a delicate, frail physique, a long narrow chest, thin bones, a small heart, and a narrow aorta. Their blood pressure is low, and their secondary sex characteristics are not fully developed. Resistance to infectious diseases is low. Partial infantilism is characterized by dysfunctions of certain systems or organs.

Mental infantilism and sex infantilism are particulary common forms of partial infantilism. Mental infantilism is marked by extreme moodiness, inattentiveness, a tendency to daydream, suggestibility, touchiness, and timidity in the face of new situations. Judgments are shallow and hasty. Lightheartedness and frivolity are combined with egocentrism and childish insistence. Sex infantilism is characterized by sparse underarm and pubic hair. In females the breasts and uterus are underdeveloped, the pelvis is frequently narrow, and the menstrual periods are irregular. Females afflicted with infantilism are often infertile. Some suffer miscarriages or extrauterine pregnancies. Sex infantilism appears much less frequently in males. It is manifested by an underdevelopment of external and internal genitalia and of the prostate gland, an absence of sexual drive, and sexual dysfunction.

Treatment for infantilism includes the creation of sanitary conditions, adequate diet, and physical activity. Children suffering from the affliction should reside in forest schools, pioneer camps, or sanatoriums. The disease causing infantilism must also be treated. If the endocrine glands are affected, hormones (sex hormones, thyroiodinum, or pituitary preparations) are prescribed.

N. R. SHASTIN

References in periodicals archive ?
17OHD must be considered in patients with hypokaelemic hypertension and sexual infantilism.
While critics often focus on the Oedipal representation of Jane as Rochester's daughter (rightly so because he actually terms her "daughter" in this passage), Jane's infantilism should not overshadow her new simultaneous "status of mother.
These bright shiny bronze boots also suggest bronze baby shoes, with all the associated infantilism and narcissisism conventionally assigned to women and persons of color.
We're all agreed, I suppose, that anyone who uses the disgusting infantilism "lady" is asking for a smack (in the tummy, probably), but even more chilling are the increasingly common males and females.
I didn't know what male clerical arrogance and repression of women into infantilism were before I came to the Vatican.
It is doubtful they recognized Nazi millenarianism as the collective and mindlessly destructive infantilism it was, even when that infantilism in its earlier medieval expression formed a part of Germany's own history.
The infantilism of her character is announced in the scene that precedes the final battle.
Sheen once blasted Sigmund Freud as a purveyor of "materialism, hedonism, infantilism and eroticism," while G.
Over the great band of society where, in 1914, it had been odd and disreputable not to go to church, it was now seen as odd and a form of infantilism to do so.
Although the Fossils scorn this coy infantilism, the truths that they will learn in their training and early careers will confirm both the aggrandisements of success and the fact that they provide a model of power without attaining the real thing.
Happily, in a performance that moves easily from childish infantilism to a kind of grandeur, McCabe gave us mainly the first two concepts.
However, perhaps because he was so secure in being an adult, he ignored the infantilism that often clings to people throughout life, manifested by their love of soldiering and their adoration of military heroes.