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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 134333 Find in a Library
Title: To Kill Again: The Motivation and Development of Serial Murder
Author(s): D J Sears
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 178
Sponsoring Agency: Scholarly Resources, Inc.
Wilmington, DE 19805
Publication Number: ISBN 0-8420-2378-X
Sale Source: Scholarly Resources, Inc.
104 Greenhill Avenue
Wilmington, DE 19805
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compares Theodore Bundy and John Gacy with other serial murderers to formulate a profile of common characteristics and applies theories of aggressive behavior from the fields of psychology, sociology, and biology to the problem of serial murder.
Abstract: The most complete and accurate description of the development of the serial murderer comes from following the five stages of catathymic crisis in Wertham's theory. These stages involve: initial thinking disorders which follow the original precipitating circumstances; crystallization of a plan, at which time the idea of a violent act emerges into consciousness; extreme tension culminating in the violent crisis in which a brutal act against oneself or others is attempted or carried out; superficial normality beginning with a period of lifting tension and a calmness immediately following the violent act; and insight and recovery with the reestablishment of an inner equilibrium. Wertham's theory allows for variables from the sociological, psychological, and biological fields and thus provides an accurate description of the development of the serial murder. The disappearance of Wertham's theory appears due, in part, to the promulgation of other explanations dealing with the motivation for brutal murder, but modern attempts to explain the phenomenon lack the thoroughness of Wertham's original theory. Suggestions are proposed for preventing future serial murder. 396 notes and 137 references
Main Term(s): Offender profiles; Serial murders
Index Term(s): Biological influences; Psychological influences on crime; Sociological analyses; Violence prevention
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