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NCJ Number: 236137 Find in a Library
Title: Comparing Boy and Girl Arsonists: Crisis, Family, and Crime Scene Characteristics
Journal: Legal and Criminological Psychology  Volume:16  Issue:2  Dated:September 2011  Pages:277-288
Author(s): Dominique Roe-Sepowitz; Kristine Hickle
Date Published: September 2011
Page Count: 12
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study examined the similarities and differences between male and female juveniles charged with arson in terms of family crisis, school issues, mental health, family characteristics, crime descriptions, and prior delinquency.
Abstract: Both boys and girls came from homes with little or no parental supervision, and they had friends who engaged in delinquent behavior; both boys and girls reported little or no drug use and regular school attendance. Girls were more likely than boys to run away from home and engage in truancy from school and/or tardiness. Girls were also more likely to have experienced a crisis in the last year and to report higher rates of childhood maltreatment and suicidal ideations than boys. This confirms prior research that suggests girls engage in expressive firesetting in an effort to release internalized tension or express emotional and psychological stress. Boys, on the other hand, were more likely to report gang involvement, prior delinquency, and a history of prior arrests for arson. These findings imply that boys are more likely than girls to commit arson among other crimes and are involved in a delinquent lifestyle. The study also found that boys were more likely than girls to have a mental health diagnosis, specifically ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or multiple mental health diagnoses. The study concludes that it is unlikely for girl arsonists to have lower rates of mental health problems than boy arsonists; girls’ mental health disorders may simply be underdiagnosed. The study sample consisted of 217 boys and 114 girls charged with arson in a large southern State over a 5-year period (2000-2005). The Supervision Risk Classification Instrument (SRCI) was administered to participants, and a predisposition report was completed by a juvenile probation officer. The sample also independently completed the Massachusetts Juveniles Screening Instrument Second Version (MAYSI-2). 3 tables and 44 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Arson; Arson investigations; Arsonists; Female juvenile delinquents; Juvenile fire setters; Male female juvenile offender comparisons; Male juvenile delinquents; Offender profiles
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