Award Date

5-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Environmental and Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Michelle Chino, Chair

Second Committee Member

Chad Cross

Third Committee Member

Sheniz Moonie

Fourth Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Graduate Faculty Representative

Merrill Landers

Number of Pages

94

Abstract

Firesetting is a complex behavior that spans a wide range of developmental stages in childhood and adolescence and involves varying motivations and intents. A better understanding of this destructive behavior is critical to developing strategies to control its devastating effects. The purpose of this research project was to identify potential predictors of juvenile firesetting behavior by studying youth who were enrolled in a regional firesetting intervention program. Data collected from firesetting assessment instruments completed by parents or guardians of program participants were examined. In the analyses, special emphasis was placed on evaluating associations between juvenile firesetting behavior and the socioeconomic status of the family; family structure and functioning; and select characteristics of conduct disorder or antisociality among children and adolescents enrolled in the program. Statistically significant findings in two areas of the study support empirical evidence reported in the extant literature. Among youth enrolled in the program, results indicate that those who demonstrated increased interest in fire were more likely to engage in more fire-related incidents. The second finding was that youth who exhibited behaviors characteristic of conduct disorder or antisociality were also more likely to be involved in more firesetting events. Additional research into developing appropriate assessment tools and intervention strategies is necessary.

Keywords

Antisocial behavior; Conduct disorders in children; Fire behavior in children; Fireplay; Firesetting behavior; Firesetting intervention programs; Impulse control disorders in children; Juvenile firesetting; Pyromania in children

Disciplines

Child Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Personality and Social Contexts | Public Health

Language

English