Author(s): Kazdin AE, Kolko DJ
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Abstract The purpose of this study was to identify parent and family characteristics related to juvenile firesetting and antisocial behavior among severely disturbed children. Hospitalized children (ages 6-12) identified as firesetters (n = 27) and non-firesetters (n = 27) were compared in terms of parental psychopathology, dyadic adjustment, and family environment. To separate the impact of conduct disorder in contributing to group differences, diagnosis and firesetting status were separated in the data analyses. The results indicated that parents of firesetters showed significantly greater dysfunction in terms of psychiatric symptoms, and higher levels of depression, and reported lower levels of affectional expression, consensus, and overall adjustment in their dyadic relationships. The findings suggest that among a clinical sample, specific parent and marital characteristics delineate firesetters. The contribution of parental and marital influences to antisocial behavior more generally and the need to focus specifically on firesetting in relation to these variables are discussed.
This article was published in J Abnorm Child Psychol
and referenced in Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy