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Firesetting among 18-23 year old un-apprehended adults: A UK community study

Barrowcliffe, Emma, Tyler, Nichola, Gannon, Theresa A. (2022) Firesetting among 18-23 year old un-apprehended adults: A UK community study. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, . ISSN 2056-3841. (doi:10.1108/JCRPP-06-2021-0026) (KAR id:90918)


This study assesses the prevalence of firesetting in a sample of young UK adults age 18 to 23 years and compares their characteristics with non-firesetting individuals. Two-hundred and forty male (n = 119, 49.6%) and female (n = 121, 50.4%) participants were recruited through Prolific Academic. Comparisons were made between self-reported firesetting and non-firesetting participants on a range of demographic, fire-related, and personality measures. Factors predictive of firesetting status were examined using hierarchical logistic regression. Twenty-five percent of participants (n = 60) reported igniting a deliberate fire. Logistic regression was used to examine the ability of parental supervision and behavioural issues (e.g., witnessing domestic violence, experimenting with fire before age 10, and family history of firesetting), antisocial behaviours (e.g., having criminal friends, impulsivity, teenage access to fire paraphernalia, skipping class more than once per week, taken any illegal drugs, participation in criminal behaviour), and fire-related interests, attitudes, and propensities in predicting firesetting status. Factors found to distinguish firesetting and non-firesetting participants included: experimented with fire before 10 years of age, family history of firesetting, impulsivity, teenage access to fire paraphernalia, participation in criminal behaviour, and the Fire Setting Scale. The results provide key information about potential risk factors relating to un-apprehended firesetting in the general population. This research adds to the small body of literature examining firesetting in the general population. It refines previously used methodologies, presents the first research study to examine the prevalence of firesetting behaviour in emerging adults, and enhances our understanding of un-apprehended firesetting.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/JCRPP-06-2021-0026
Uncontrolled keywords: iresetter, arson, deliberate firesetting, fire lighting, youth, adolescent, un-apprehended, fire interest
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Theresa Gannon
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2021 16:17 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 10:50 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Barrowcliffe, Emma.

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Tyler, Nichola.

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Gannon, Theresa A..

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