Adults who deliberately set fires: the utility of fire-setting intervention programmes for mentally disordered offenders

Hughes, Sian E. (2012). Adults who deliberately set fires: the utility of fire-setting intervention programmes for mentally disordered offenders. University of Birmingham. Foren.Psy.D.

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This thesis explores both the utility and effectiveness of psychological interventions in addressing fire-setting behaviour amongst adults. Chapter one explores the heterogeneous nature of this population in terms of the behaviour, the personal characteristics, and the motivations. By outlining multi-factorial theories, it explores why adults intentionally set fires and the implications that this has on the development of psychological interventions. Chapter two provides a critical appraisal of the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (3rd Edition) as an assessment of personality disorder and psychopathology. This chapter explores the psychometric properties of the tool, both in terms of the reliability and validity of its use amongst adults within forensic settings. This was deemed important given its typical use with mentally disordered offenders, including those with a history of fire-setting behaviour. Chapter three contains a systematic review exploring the effectiveness of psychological interventions for adults who set fires, and highlights the shortage of available research. Although interventions have evidenced some promising findings in relation to recidivism and improved psychological well-being, limitations were recognised in relation to the quality of articles reviewed, and the generalisability of such findings. Chapter four explores the experiences of service users within a structured fire-setting treatment programme specifically designed for mentally disordered offenders. Using an Integrative Phenomenological Approach, insight is gained into the service users’ perceptions of the programme and its utility in addressing fire-setting behaviour. Six themes are identified and discussed in length offering a rich understanding into the most salient aspects of the intervention from an inpatient service user’s perspective. Finally, theoretical and clinical implications of the findings from the previous chapters are discussed in Chapter five.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare


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