Female firesetters: gender associated psychological and psychopathological features

Alleyne, E., Gannon, T., Mozova, K., Page, T. and O Ciardha, C. (2016) Female firesetters: gender associated psychological and psychopathological features. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 79 (4). pp. 364-378. ISSN 0033-2747.

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Objective: Female firesetters are reported to commit nearly a third of deliberately set fires, yet there are limited studies examining the characteristics that distinguish them from suitable comparison groups. The aim of this study is to compare incarcerated female firesetters with incarcerated male firesetters and female offender controls on psychopathological and psychological features that could be targeted via therapeutic interventions.

Method: Sixty-five female firesetters, 128 male firesetters, and 63 female offenders were recruited from the prison estate. Participants completed a battery of validated tools assessing psychiatric traits and psychological characteristics (i.e., inappropriate fire interest,
emotion/self-regulation, social competence, self-concept, offense-supportive attitudes, and boredom proneness) highlighted in the existing literature.

Results: Major depression and an internal locus of control distinguished female firesetters from male firesetters. Alcohol dependence, serious/problematic fire interest, and more effective anger regulation distinguished female firesetters from the female offender control group.

Conclusions: This is the first study to examine differences between female firesetters, male firesetters, and female control offenders on both psychopathological features and psychological traits. These findings highlight the gender-specific and offence-specific needs of female firesetters that clinicians need to consider when implementing programs that ensure client responsivity.

Keywords: firesetting, arson, psychopathology, female offenders

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine > RA1148 Forensic psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing
Depositing User: Katarina Ozcakir Mozova
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 09:03
Last Modified: 30 Dec 2017 10:11
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/14918

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00