Cover image for Children who murder : a psychological perspective
Children who murder : a psychological perspective
Heckel, Robert V.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxii, 177 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1440 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RJ506.H65 H43 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Due to the extensive changes in family structure such as the increase of single parent families, a high divorce rate, and the decline of the extended family, support systems for young children are in decline. This decline disrupts the support systems' ability to shape children's prosocial values. Because of the fear of lawsuits and limited financial resources, community services and schools no longer provide the framework needed to balance changes in the contemporary family structure. This book provides insight into voids that have created social skills affecting this young population using an integrative approach to examine the casual factors of violent behavior in preteens. It offers suggestions for alleviating some of the causative factors that have created this nationwide problem.

Changes in family structure, the role of the community, the educational philosophy of schools, and the juvenile justice system are discussed as examples of casual factors of violent behavior in preteens. This timely book uses an integrative approach to examine these factors as well as to discuss the changes in the juvenile justice system in terms of punishment, treatment, and rehabilitation. A direct response to current events such as the Columbine shooting and recent elementary school shootings, ^IChildren Who Murder^R will be of interest to practitioners, educators, guidance and educational counselors, lawyers, and parents.

Author Notes

ROBERT V. HECKEL is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina./e

DAVID M. SHUMAKER is a doctoral candidate in Clinical-Community Psychology at the University of South Carolina, Columbia./e

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Focusing on preteens, this book draws on a data primarily from case studies on this very small group and from larger samples over a larger age range that includes an age breakdown. The authors use this sparse information to tell the reader who these children are, what they are like, and how the criminal justice system deals with them. Although the number of teen murderers has varied over the years, the number of preteen murderers has remained relatively stable, suggesting perhaps that the underlying factors may be different. Studies have tried to organize these cases for the purpose of comparisons in several ways -- by psychological characteristics of the murderer, by aspects of the crime (e.g., motive), by the relationship of the murderer to the victim. The book nicely summarizes the conclusions from this past research. The authors examine various development theories for possible explanations, briefly addressing recent popular targets of blame (media, video games, changing family dynamics, poverty). Finally, in a section that echoes T. Berry Brazelton and Stanley Greenspan's The Irreducible Needs of Children (CH, Apr'01), they consider treatment/rehabilitation versus prevention, outlining what they believe every child needs to develop into a well-socialized adult. Though scholarly, this timely book is easily accessible to the undergraduate. All psychology collections. K. L. Hartlep California State University, Bakersfield

Table of Contents

Honorable Eugene Arthur Moore
Forewordp. VII
Introductionp. XIX
Part I The Researchp. 1
1 Who Are They?p. 3
2 What Are They Like?p. 19
3 Who Will Kill?p. 31
4 By What Means Are They Dealt?p. 53
Part II Developmental Issuesp. 65
5 Moral Developmentp. 67
6 The Changing Familyp. 83
Part III Assessment and Interventionsp. 99
7 Assessmentp. 101
8 Treatment and Rehabilitationp. 121
9 Preventionp. 141
Summary and Conclusionsp. 155
Referencesp. 163
Indexp. 175