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The Relationship Between Trauma and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptomatology in Juvenile Firesetters

24 July 2009


Firesetting is a serious problem among juveniles in the United States and can have profound consequences, including injury or death, destruction of property, and significant costs for communities. There is also a lack of research regarding potential risk factors of juvenile firesetting. In this study, archival data were used from a suburban residential treatment center to assess potential risk factors, including trauma and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptomatology, among juvenile firesetters. The participants in the study included 42 adolescents between the ages of 11 and 16 with a history of firesetting behavior. This study used hierarchical regression analyses to examine hyperactive-impulsive and inattention symptoms, as moderators of the relation between trauma symptomatology and juvenile firesetting. Using the Posttraumatic Stress subscale of the Trauma Symptom Checklist, DSM-IV Hyperactive-Impulsive and Inattentive subscales of the Conners’ Parent Rating Form, and the Juvenile Fire Setting Evaluation and Risk Assessment, no significant results were found. In other words, the relationship between (a) trauma symptoms and hyperactivity-impulsivity and (b) trauma symptoms and inattentiveness did not predict the level of firesetting severity in adolescents in residential care. Limitations, which may have contributed to the current findings are discussed. In addition, clinical and research applications of these results are addressed.


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