Title page for ETD etd-11052007-103806

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Del Fabbro, Giada Alessia
Email ginx@pixie.co.za
URN etd-11052007-103806
Document Title A review of South African perspectives on serial murder
Degree MA (Clinical Psychology)
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Prof D Beyers
  • qualitative methodology
  • criminological review
  • family systems analysis
  • psychometric testing
  • serial murder
  • interactional approach
  • psychodynamic perspective
  • narrative
  • grounded theory
  • emotional “cooling off” period
Date 2006-11-11
Availability unrestricted
Pistorius (1996) was the first individual to introduce research on serial murder in the South African context with her psychodynamic approach to the phenomenon. Since then, others have followed, namely Labuschagne (1998, 2001) with his search for interactional and communication connections; Du Plessis (1998) from a grounded theory approach; and Hodgskiss (2001) with his assessment of South African offender characteristics and behaviours. Four more studies have been conducted, namely Hook’s post-structural deconstruction of narratives of a person who committed serial murder (2003); De Wet’s psychosocial perspective (2005); Barkhuizen’s intrapsychic object relations approach (2006); and Del Fabbro’s exploration of the phenomenon from a family systems paradigm (2006).

To date, no attempt has been made to review these research endeavors. In this article, these studies are reviewed and their strengths and weaknesses with regard to theory, methodology and research findings debated. The author concludes with several recommendations for future research on the phenomenon of serial murder: greater communication between various disciplines (e.g. psychology, criminology, law) investigating serial murder; expansion of Hodgskiss’ research (2001) on offence characteristics for profiling purposes; and the relationship between psychopathology and serial murder.

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