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Twemlow, S.W. (2003). A Crucible for Murder: The Social Context of Violent Children and Adolescents. Psychoanal Q., 72(3):659-698.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 72(3):659-698

A Crucible for Murder: The Social Context of Violent Children and Adolescents

Stuart W. Twemlow, M.D.

The author describes aspects of social context that are of importance in the genesis of murderous violence in children and adolescents. Case presentations illustrate the effects of family attachment pathology, differing outcomes in destructive children, and the copycat phenomenon. The author concludes by summarizing the continuum of responses of children and adolescents to various forms of threat: real attack, unconscious threat, kindled threat, suppressed threat, bully- victim-bystander sadomasochistic ritual attack, and peer-group-validated threat.

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