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NCJ Number: 222324 Find in a Library
Title: Link Between Maltreatment and Juvenile Firesetting: Correlates and Underlying Mechanisms
Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:February 2008  Pages:161-176
Author(s): C. Root; S. MacKay; J. Henderson; G. Del Bove; D. Warling
Date Published: February 2008
Page Count: 16
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence and type of maltreatment reported within a sample of children referred to an outpatient program for juvenile fire setters.
Abstract: As hypothesized, when compared to nonmaltreated children, the maltreated children in the sample set more fires, they demonstrated more versatility in their ignition sources and the items or targets they burned, they were more likely to set fires out of anger or immediately following a familial stressor, and their caregivers reported more emotional and behavioral problems in general. Within the juvenile firesetting population, the presence of maltreatment was a risk factor for a more severe course of firesetting. These findings also suggest that the link between maltreatment and firesetting is operating partially through heightened emotional and behavioral difficulties. Although maltreatment has received considerable attention in the juvenile firesetting literature, no studies have explored how child maltreatment might operate as a risk factor for juvenile fire involvement. Given previous evidence, this study explored how maltreatment and emotional/behavioral difficulties operated together to impact on children’s fire involvement over time. The study hypothesized that a history of maltreatment increased children’s vulnerability to emotional and behavioral regulation difficulties, which in turn led to a more serious course of fire involvement. Utilizing a sample of 205 children, age 4 to 17 years and their caregivers, assessments were completed with a standardized protocol. The results indicated 48 percent of the sample had a history of maltreatment and 26 percent had experienced more than one type of maltreatment. Firesetting histories of maltreated youth were compared to a group of firesetting youth with no maltreatment history. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Juvenile fire setters
Index Term(s): Arsonists; Behavior patterns; Child abuse; Child abuse as crime factor; Child abuse as delinquency factor; Criminality prediction; Juvenile delinquency; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency research; Juvenile offenders; Psychological causes of delinquency
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