Deliberate firesetting

Rebekah M. Doley, Bruce D. Watt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionaryResearchpeer-review


[Extract] Pathological firesetting is the deliberate intentional misuse of fire. It does not necessarily imply a conviction for firesetting, making a distinction from the term arson, which is a legal definition for the criminal act of willfully and maliciously setting fire to property. In this entry, however, the terms are used interchangeably to encompass apprehended and undetected deliberate firesetters.

The literature on deliberate firesetting is replete with an array of terms, usually with a pejorative tone, used to describe the act; for instance, firebug, pyro(maniac), and serial arsonist. The lack of precision in the use of these terms has clouded understanding of the internal drives for deliberate firesetting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology
EditorsAmy Wenzel
Place of PublicationThousand Oaks
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Number of pages984
ISBN (Print)9781483365831
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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