Effects of alcohol intake and induced frustration on fire-starting disposition

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Renee Perrin-Wallqvist
Lena Eriksson
Torsten Norlander
Cite this article:  Perrin-Wallqvist, R., Eriksson, L., & Norlander, T. (2001). Effects of alcohol intake and induced frustration on fire-starting disposition. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 29(6), 547-556.

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The object of the present study was to see whether there are tendencies towards reactive arson, measured as the relationships among frustration, intoxication, and a disposition to start fires. One hundred individuals, 50 men and 50 women, participated. All were students and were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 experimental groups, namely control, placebo, frustration, alcohol, and alcohol + frustration. A projective test was devised which required the participant to complete a short story where the content involved a person who had suffered humiliation and persecution and who was fingering a box of matches in his/her pocket. Results indicated that frustration in-creases the probability of starting fires, but, in this study, alcohol did not increase the degree of relation to fire. Results also suggest that there are strong cognitive barriers in a population of university students against fantasizing about starting fires.

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Acknowledgement is due to reviewers including

Dr. Paul Valliant

Department of Psychology

Laurentian University




T. Norlander, Department of Psychology, Karlstad University, SE-65188 Karlstad, Sweden. Phone: 76547001178; Email: [email protected]

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