The Mcdonald Triad Theory

1471 Words6 Pages
One in five murders of children are committed by other children. For many people, children who kill are monstrous and it is unthinkable. These kids were once rare deviants but here lately it’s becoming more common place. I would like to explore this phenomenon by looking at the Mcdonald triad theory that uses three main variables, animal cruelty, pyromania, and enuresis during childhood and/or adolescence to explain aggression that graduates to violent crimes against humans. For example, Tallihet and Hensley (2008) asserts that youthful animal abusers graduate to later aggression against humans. This hypothesis known as the “graduation hypothesis” is now accepted by clinicians, social scientist, law enforcement, and animal advocates. In Singer…show more content…
Many researchers have questioned the validity of this triad since its inception, including John Macdonald himself. The extent to which cruelty to animals, firesetting, and enuresis in childhood and or adolescence are collectively or individually predictive of future violence has not been established by a consistent body of empirical research. Mcdonald’s 1963 research assessed mental patients which suggest that mental disorder was an intervening variable such that triad behaviors are more likely to be predictive of threats of violence when mental disorder is present (Ryan,…show more content…
Slavkin (2001) citing Quinsey et al., 1989; Sakkeim & Osborn, 1999; Sakheim, Osborn, & Abrams, 1991; Saunders & Awad, 1991, juvenile firesetters have been reported to be more likely than other groups of juveniles to display cruelty to children or animals, as well as to have difficulties with enuresis. Justice, Justice, and Kraft (1974) question whether the ego triad (interchangeable with the Macdonald triad) is an adequate predictor of violent behavior in adulthood. They asserted that the ego triad largely has been found to occur simultaneously with factors that may be predictors of violent adult behaviors. Drawing on the results of the Slavkin (2001) study, he concluded that the hypothesis tested in his study was that the presence of enuresis and cruelty to animals in juvenile firesetters would be significantly related to recidivist firesetting. He also found that although cruelty to animals seems to hold potential as a predictor of recidivistic firesetting, it is most likely an externalizing behavior that correlates highly with delinquency. Justice, Justice, and Kraft (1974) have asserted that the ego triad largely occurs simultaneously with factors that may be better predictors or violent adult
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