Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Daniel W. KlyceEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_9197


Fire setting

Short Description or Definition

Pyromania is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) by a pattern of behavior that involves deliberate and purposeful fire setting on more than one occasion. The act of fire setting is preceded by experience of tension or affective arousal, and it is followed by pleasure, gratification, or relief when setting fires or when witnessing or participating in the effects of a fire. Pyromania involves fasciation or attraction to fire and associated materials, uses, or consequences. Pyromania is distinct from fire setting for instrumental gain, political or ideological reasons, or an expression of anger or vengeance.


The disorder is classified with the disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders in DSM-5.

Current Knowledge

Development and Course

Prevalence rates of pyromania are not well known. Among individuals with repeated fire...

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References and Readings

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Association Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Gannon, T. A., & Pina, A. (2010). Firesetting: Psychopathology, theory and treatment. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 15, 224–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Grant, J. E., & Kim, S. W. (2007). Clinical characteristics and psychiatric comorbidity of Pyromania. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68, 1717–1722.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Swaffer, T., Haggett, M., & Oxley, T. (2001). Mentally disordered firesetters: A structured intervention programme. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 8, 468–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia Commonwealth University – School of MedicineRichmondUSA