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J Clin Psychiatry. 2010 Sep;71(9):1218-25. doi: 10.4088/JCP.08m04812gry. Epub 2010 Feb 23.

Prevalence and correlates of fire-setting in the United States: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, 1051 Riverside Drive, Box 69, New York, NY 10032, USA. cb255@columbia.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the prevalence, sociodemographic correlates, comorbidity, and rates of mental health service utilization of fire-setters in the general population.

METHOD:

A face-to-face survey of more than 43,000 adults aged 18 years and older residing in households was conducted during the 2001-2002 period. Diagnoses of mood, anxiety, substance use disorders, and personality disorders were based on the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-DSM-IV Version (AUDADIS-IV).

RESULTS:

The prevalence of lifetime fire-setting in the US population was 1.13 (95% CI, 1.0-1.3). Being male, never married, and US-born and having a yearly income over $70,000 were risk factors for lifetime fire-setting, while being Asian or Hispanic and older than 30 years were protective factors for lifetime fire-setting. The strongest associations with fire-setting were with disorders often associated with deficits in impulse control, such as antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) (odds ratio [OR] = 21.8; CI, 6.6-28.5), drug dependence (OR = 7.6; 95% CI, 5.2-10.9), bipolar disorder (OR = 5.6; 95% CI, 4.0-7.9), and pathological gambling (OR = 4.8; 95% CI, 2.4-9.5). Associations between fire-setting and all antisocial behaviors were positive and significant. A lifetime history of fire-setting, even in the absence of an ASPD diagnosis, was strongly associated with substantial rates of Axis I comorbidity, a history of antisocial behavior, a family history of other antisocial behaviors, decreased functioning, and higher treatment-seeking rates.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that fire-setting may be better understood as a behavioral manifestation of a broader impaired control syndrome and part of the externalizing spectrum. Fire-setting and other antisocial behaviors tend to be strongly associated with each other and increase the risk of lifetime and current psychiatric disorders, even in the absence of a DSM-IV diagnosis of ASPD.

© Copyright 2010 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.

PMID:
20361899
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2950908
Free PMC Article
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