Who repeats? A follow-up study of state hospital patients' firesetting behavior

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Female; Firesetting Behavior; Follow-Up Studies; Hospitals, State; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders; Middle Aged; Patient Admission; Prevalence; Psychiatric Status Rating Scales


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


The authors report on a population of psychiatric patients who were studied over a 6.75 year period to determine the occurrences of firesetting behavior noted in their psychiatric inpatient records. Two groups of 50 patients each were drawn from an earlier study and were matched by sex, age, and diagnoses. One group of patients had prior firesetting behavior; the other did not. Firesetting behavior was found not only in patients originally identified as having previously engaged in this behavior, but also in those with no documented history of this act prior to the period of the study. Patients having firesetting behavior in their past psychiatric record set more actual fires. Total number of episodes of firesetting behavior, however, was not significantly different between the two groups. Results are discussed in terms of the communicative function of firesetting and the dilemma of clinical prediction.


Psychiatr Q. 1992 Summer;63(2):143-57.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Psychiatric quarterly

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID