Cleveland Kidnap Victims Not Likely To Suffer From Stockholm Syndrome



It will take months, if not years, until the three Cleveland kidnap victims emotionally recover from their harrowing ordeal.  

As more and more details emerge involving the disappearance of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, attention will continue to shift toward the women’s mental state.

One reason it may have taken Berry, whose screams initiated their rescue, so long to cry for help is that those victims abducted at a young, vulnerable age respond greater to psychological intimidation tactics.

While it has been widely accepted that many individuals held captive for a long period of time develop “Stockholm syndrome,” most analysts agree that genuine cases involving this condition are the exception, not the rule.

Stockholm syndrome occurs when hostages bond with their captors, out of both gratitude that that they are still alive and the fact that their captivity has warped their sense of reality.

The term "Stockholm syndrome" was dubbed by the FBI after a 1973 robbery of the bank Kreditbanken in Stockholm, Sweden.

During a five-day period, two robbers held four bank employees hostage in which the victims shared a vault with their captors and soon became emotionally attached.

While viewpoints on the condition differ widely, there are certain agreed upon conditions necessary for this form of “traumatic bonding” to actually occur.

If a person really does suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, along with other characteristics, the captor has to have exhibited kindness toward her or him.

According to a 1999 study of hostage victims by the FBI, Stockholm Syndrome has been “over-emphasized, over-analyzed, over-psychologised, and over-publicized” in the past 25 years.

"Stockholm Syndrome happens much less frequently than people think, although it's likely that over the course of 10 years, a prisoner will encounter some of his captor's humanity as well as his brutality, and they may have conflicting feelings about it all afterwards,” London-based hostage negotiator and psychologist, Jim Alvarez, told The Telegraph.

"Having said that, in this case, Ms. Berry appears to have escaped, so whatever element of Stockholm Syndrome she might have had clearly had its limits. It is, in a way, a case of 'if I can't beat 'em, I will join them', and that can change at any time."

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