Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Dangerousness in firesetters: a survey of psychiatrists' views

  • Philip Sugarman (a1) and Geoff Dickens (a2)
Abstract
Aims and Method

The assessment of the future dangerousness of firesetters is problematical but psychiatrists may be requested to perform assessment of arsonists for the courts. We surveyed the views of psychiatrists and others (n=54) on how 11 candidate historical variables might contribute to future dangerousness.

Results

Hierarchical cluster analysis indicated that variables fell into three groups related to level of perceived dangerousness. Apparent intention to endanger life and setting fire to an occupied building were the items thought by psychiatrists to most indicate highest future dangerousness. Having previously set fires that caused extensive damage, failure to extinguish previous fires or alert the authorities were perceived as indicating moderate future dangerousness.

Clinical Implications

The study adds to what is known about how psychiatrists formulate assessments of future dangerousness.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Dangerousness in firesetters: a survey of psychiatrists' views
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Dangerousness in firesetters: a survey of psychiatrists' views
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Dangerousness in firesetters: a survey of psychiatrists' views
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
Hide All
Almond, L., Duggan, L., Shine, J., et al (2005) Test of the arson action systems model in an incarcerated population. Journal of Psychology, Crime & Law, 11, 115.
Arson Prevention Bureau (1998) Accomodating Arsonists in the Community: Guidance for Hostel Managers. Arson Prevention Bureau (http://www.arsonpreventionbureau.org.uk/Publications/Files/Hostels.pdf).
Brett, A. (2004) ‘Kindling theory’ in arson: how dangerous are firesetters? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 38, 419425.
Canter, D. & Fritzon, K. (1998) Differentiating arsonists: a model of firesetting actions and characteristics. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 3, 7396.
Clatworthy, J., Buick, D., Hankins, M., et al (2005) The use and reporting of cluster analysis in health psychology: a review. British Journal of Health Psychology, 10, 329358.
Dickens, G., Sugarman, P. Ahmad, F., et al. (2007) Gender differences amongst adult arsonists at psychiatric assessment. Medicine Science & Law, 47, 233238.
Fritzon, K., Canter, D. & Wilton, Z. (2001) The application of an action system model to destructive behaviour: the examples of arson and terrorism. Behavioural Sciences and the Law, 19, 657690.
Prins, H.A. (2005) Offenders, Deviants or Patients? (3rd edn), p. 248. Psychology Press.
Puri, B. K., Baxter, R. & Cordess, C. C. (1995) Characteristics of firesetters: a study and proposed multiaxial psychiatric classification. British Journal of Psychiatry, 166, 393396.
Rix, K. J. (1994) A psychiatric study of adult arsonists. Medicine Science & Law, 34, 2134.
Sentencing Guidelines Council (2004) New Sentences: Criminal Justice Act 2003. Sentencing Guidelines Secretariat. (http://www.sentencing-guidelines.gov.uk/docs/new_sentences_guideline.pdf).
World Health Organization (1992) The ICD–10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders: Clinical Descriptions and Diagnostic Guidelines. WHO.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 15 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 21 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd January 2018 - 18th July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Dangerousness in firesetters: a survey of psychiatrists' views

  • Philip Sugarman (a1) and Geoff Dickens (a2)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *