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Firesetting and Playing with Fire During Childhood and Adolescence: Interview Studies of 18-year-old Male Draftees and 18-19-year-old Female Pupils

NCJ Number
Legal and Criminological Psychology Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Dated: September 2003 Pages: 151-157
Renee Perrin-Wallqvist; Torsten Norlander
Date Published
September 2003
7 pages
These studies examined the interest of young men and young women in firesetting and playing with fire in childhood and as adolescents.
Previous research has stated that the number of arson cases is increasing in the industrialized Western world with statistics from the United States and Sweden showing that about 40 percent of the arsonists are adolescents. This article presents two studies which examined the interest of young men and women in playing with fire during childhood and adolescence. The first study consisted of 50 young male draftees, 18 years of age. Fire-related data were collected through interview questions in a customary interview with a psychologist. In the second study, the sample consisted of 45 young women in Sweden, between 18 and 19 years of age. The data were collected by means of a semi-structured interview covering the areas of personal characteristics, leisure time activities and feelings about and experiences of fire and fire games in childhood and later. Results show that the interest in playing with fire gradually and spontaneously decreased in the male group. Young women continued playing with fire into their late teens. Young men saw their fire childhood fire games as childish and immature. However, the social environments of young men and young women may differ. References


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