Assessment of dimensions of childhood firesetting among patients and nonpatients: the Firesetting Risk Interview

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1989 Apr;17(2):157-76. doi: 10.1007/BF00913791.


A model of firesetting risk poses that high curiosity, involvement in fire-related activities, exposure to peer/parental models, limited knowledge and skill related to fires, and poor parental supervision, among other features, are characteristic of firesetters. To operationalize several domains of the model, the Firesetting Risk Interview (FRI) for parents was developed consisting of 15 a priori dimensions. To provide a partial test of the measure and its generality across children with and without clinical dysfunction, 343 children (ages 6-13) and parents were drawn from samples of nonpatients (nonreferred), outpatients, and inpatients. In accord with the model, firesetters and nonfiresetters were found to differ in their curiosity about fire, recent involvement in fire-related activities, expression of negative emotions, early experiences with fire, exposure to others' involvement with fire, and parents' use of general disciplinary consequences. These group differences did not interact with the child's clinical status, level of antisocial behavior, or demographic background.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Firesetting Behavior / diagnosis
  • Firesetting Behavior / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests*
  • Psychometrics
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Risk Factors