Many serial killers have faced similar problems in their childhood development. Hickey's Trauma Control Model explains how early childhood trauma can set the child up for deviant behavior in adulthood. The child's environment (either their parents or society) is the dominant factor in whether or not the child's behavior escalates into homicidal activity.
Family, or lack thereof, is the most prominent part of a child's development because it is what the child can identify with on a regular basis. "The serial killer is no different than any other individual who is instigated to seek approval from parents, sexual partners, or others." This need for approval is what influences children to attempt to develop social relationships with their family and peers, but if they are rejected or neglected, they are unable to do so. This results in the lowering of their self-esteem and helps develop their fantasy world in which they are in control. Hickey's Trauma Control Model clearly shows that the development of a serial killer is based on an early trauma followed by facilitators (porn, drugs, and alcohol) and disposition (the inability to attach).
Family interaction also plays an important role in a child's growth and development. "The quality of their attachments to parents and other members of the family is critical to how these children relate to and value other members of society."
Wilson and Seaman (1990) conducted a study on incarcerated serial killers and what they felt was the most influential factor that contributed to their homicidal activity. Almost all of the serial killers in the study had experienced some sort of environmental problems during their childhood, such as a broken home, or a lack of discipline in the home. It was common for the serial killers to come from a family that had experienced divorce, separation, or the lack of a parent. Furthermore, nearly half of the serial killers had experienced some type of...