Adult lifetime prevalence of firesetting behaviors in a state hospital population

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Aged; Cognitive Therapy; Female; Firesetting Behavior; Hospitalization; Hospitals, State; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders; Middle Aged; Patient Admission; Psychiatric Status Rating Scales; Self-Injurious Behavior


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


Hospital records of all patients under age 65 years old on the census of Worcester State Hospital (WSH) on October 25, 1988 (n = 279) were reviewed for indications of firesetting behaviors during the individuals' adult lifetime. The prevalence of firesetting behaviors was found to be 27.2%. The prevalence of firesetting episodes, a subset of firesetting behaviors, was found to be 17.6%. A stepwise discriminant function analysis was used to determine whether any factors significantly differentiated the members of the firesetting behavior group from the remainder of the population. This analysis revealed that the number of WSH admissions, the number of admissions to other inpatient facilities, and a history of injurious behavior to self are significant positive predictors of membership in the firesetting behaviors group. The results of the WSH analysis are very similar to those found at Northampton State Hospital in 1983. These high prevalence rates have implication for treatment, education, record keeping, and liability.


Psychiatr Q. 1992 Summer;63(2):129-42.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Psychiatric quarterly

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID