Case Study in Introduction to Psychology
The Case of Andrea Yates
On June 20, 2001, Andrea Yates drowned each of her five children in her
bathtub. The nation struggled to understand how a loving mother could
systematically kill her children in apparent cold blood. No crime evokes more
intense feelings than a mother killing her own children.1 There was extraordinary
media coverage of her trial in Houston, Texas in 2002. Her defense attorneys,
George Parnham and Wendell Odom entered a defense of not guilty by reason of
insanity (NGRI) to multiple counts of first degree murder with death penalty
specifications. The 2002 trial jury verdict of guilty was overturned on appeal. Her
second trial in 2006 ended with an insanity verdict.
Based on your understanding of psychological concepts and research from this class and your reading from the
text and a careful reading of this case study from multiple sources, what do you believe caused Andrea Yates to
murder her five children? What do you think led to this horrific act?
The student will need to develop at least a 8 page paper that describe some of the major factors that contributed
to the killing of these children by Ms. Yates. Concepts from the class and the text should be cited and evidence
from the case that supports the inclusion of these concepts in the paper should be highlighted.
--Grammatically sound, mechanically sound (1-20 points)
--Paper is well organized (appropriate headings, strong introduction and conclusion, etc.) (1-20 points)
--A number of factors described in the paper (1-20 points)
--Evidence is cited to back up psychological factors/caused in paper (1-20 points)
--Logical reasoning and analysis (1-20 points)
The APA publications manual defines a case study as "reports of case materials obtained while working with an individual, a group, a community, or an organization. Case studies illustrate a problem; indicate a means for solving a problem; and/or shed light on needed research, clinical applications, or theoretical matters. In Writing case studies, Authors carefully consider the balance between proving important illustrative material and using confidential case material responsibly." -(APA Publication Manual pg.11)
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) (2010). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.