Male Imprisoned Firesetters Have Different Characteristics than Other Imprisoned Offenders and Require Specialist Treatment

Gannon, Theresa A. and Ó Ciardha, Caoilte and Barnoux, Magali F.L. and Tyler, Nichola and Mozova, Katarina and Alleyne, Emma (2013) Male Imprisoned Firesetters Have Different Characteristics than Other Imprisoned Offenders and Require Specialist Treatment. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 76 (4). pp. 349-364. ISSN 0033-2747. (doi: (Full text available)

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Objective: This study investigated whether a group of firesetters (n = 68) could be distinguished, psychologically, from a matched group of non-firesetting offenders (n = 68). Method: Participants completed measures examining psychological variables relating to fire, emotional/ self-regulation, social competency, self-concept, boredom proneness, and impression management. Official prison records were also examined to record offending history and other offense-related variables. A series of MANOVAs were conducted with conceptually related measures identified as the dependent variables. Follow up discriminant function and clinical cut-off score analyses were also conducted to examine the best discriminating variables for firesetters. Results: Firesetters were clearly distinguishable, statistically, from non-firesetters on three groups of conceptually related measures relating to: fire, emotional/self-regulation, and self-concept. The most successful variables for the discrimination of firesetters determined via statistical and clinical significance testing were higher levels of anger-related cognition, interest in serious fires, and identification with fire and lower levels of perceived fire safety awareness, general self-esteem, and external locus of control. Conclusions: Firesetters appear to be a specialist group of offenders who hold unique psychological characteristics. Firesetters are likely to require specialist treatment to target these psychological needs as opposed to generic offending behavior programs.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: firesetting, arson, theory, assessment, treatment
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Emma Alleyne
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2013 09:42 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2017 15:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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