Female firesetters

Date of this Version


Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Citation only

Fritzon, K., & Miller, S. (2016). Female firesetters. In R. M. Doley, G. L. Dickens, & T. A. Gannon (Eds.), The Psychology of arson: A practical guide to understanding and managing deliberate firesetters (pp. 41-54). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

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2016 HERDC submission

© Copyright, Rebekah M. Doley, Geoffrey L. Dickens and Theresa A. Gannon, 2016




Key points:

• There are only a small number of studies that have compared female flresetters with suitable comparison groups.

• Girl firesetters are more likely than boy firesetters to report significant family crisis in the year preceding firesetting and significantly more childhood maltreatment. These findings are comparable with those reported for adult female firesetters.

• Adolescent females describe using fire for thrill seeking whereas adult females describe using fire to attract help and solve life problems.

• Adult female firesetters appear to have problems with mental health, interpersonal attachments, conflict resolution, emotional expression/regulation and impulse control, suggesting that the 'emotionally expressive/need for recognition' facet of the Multi-Trajectory Theory of Adult Firesetting (M-TIAF, Gannon, O’Ciardha, Daley &Alleyne, 2011) is particularly relevant.

• More research is needed to help specify risk factors for female firesetters, little is known in particular about offence supportive cognitions. Ideally this research would use comparison groups of male firesetters and female offenders.

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This document has been peer reviewed.