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Miller, D. Looney, J. (1974). The Prediction of Adolescent Homicide: Episodic Dyscontrol and Dehumanization. Am. J. Psychoanal., 34(3):187-198.

(1974). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 34(3):187-198

The Prediction of Adolescent Homicide: Episodic Dyscontrol and Dehumanization

Derek Miller, M.D. and John Looney, M.D.

The ability to predict both homicidal and nonmurderous violent behavior would theoretically be helpful in some types of crime.1 Considerable efforts have been made in this direction. Statistical studies, although they are not helpful in individual prediction, show that violent behavior is more likely to occur in the mentally ill who have been chronic patients in psychiatric hospitals than in the population at large.2 Adult crime is said to be more likely in those who as children showed a triad of enuresis, firesetting, and cruelty to animals, but this syndrome is not present with greater frequency in violent than nonviolent individuals.3

It has been generally agreed that dangerous acts cannot be predicted in a person who has not acted in a dangerous way.4 However, recognizable homicidal characters have been shown on the stage (“Lorenzacchio,” A. de Musset). Most psychiatric literature attempts from retrospective studies to deduce what ought to be sought to make the prediction of homicide possible, but recently some psychological tests on prisoners have been shown to have a predictive value indicating the possibility of violent behavior.5 A study of ten adolescents, nine boys and one girl, in whom a prediction of murderousness was made, describes definable syndromes in which the attempted murder of another human being is more or less inevitable.

Theoretical Background

A study of murder without apparent motive in four individuals who made homicidal attacks described a syndrome which it was thought might be indentifiable prior to an actual episode.

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