This Toronto-based study looked at a group of juvenile firesetters aged 4-17 years, and their caregivers. Within the group of firesetters (n=205), children with a history of maltreatment were compared to children with no history of maltreatment. Results showed that the presence of maltreatment is a risk factor that contributes to a more severe course of setting fires. The findings suggest that the link between maltreatment and firesetting is not direct but takes place primarily through heightened behavioural and mood difficulties. One limitation of the study is that maltreatment data and data on the characteristics of the children’s firesetting were caregiver-reported only.
Child Abuse and Neglect, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp. 161-176