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Psychology of Child Firesetting - Detection and Intervention

NCJ Number
J Gaynor; C Hatcher
Date Published
229 pages
This book for mental health professionals discusses the clinical features of juvenile firesetting, evaluation of the juvenile firesetter, intervention, prevention, and advocacy approaches.
The first section discusses the detection of firesetting, describes the scope of the problem, proposes a predictive model of youthful fire behavior, and presents the clinical features of pathological firesetting. The underlying assumption of the predictive model is that youthful fire behavior is part of the normal childhood developmental process. Specific psychosocial determinants can be used to predict pathological fire behaviors. The predictors encompass individual characteristics, social circumstances, and environmental conditions. Six factors identified for the analysis of psychopathological firestarting are history, method, ignition, intention, target, and behavior. The second section addresses intervention: methods of interviewing and evaluating juvenile firesetters, outpatient and inpatient psychotherapy approaches, options for community intervention, and the multiple roles and responsibilities of professionals working with juvenile firesetters. 92 references, author/source index, and subject index.