What is the Stockholm Syndrome? The most curious about this
Elizabeth Smart before an interview March 7, 2013 in Park City, UT
The kidnapping of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart from a country house in Salt Lake City made a lot of noise at one time and even formed the basis of the film, which is called “The Abduction of Elizabeth Smart”.
The heroine of this story has an unequivocal opinion regarding the notorious “Stockholm syndrome” - such a phenomenon does not exist. And many experts agree with her on this.
The term “Stockholm Syndrome” appeared in 1973, when during a robbery of one of the Swedish banks, the hostage-takers suddenly became sympathetic to the robbers and went over to their side.
In America, the classic example of the manifestation of the Stockholm syndrome is the story of the kidnapping of the left-wing terrorist group heir to the billion-dollar state Patricia Hearst.The girl joined the ranks of her kidnappers and, as a result, was imprisoned for robbing a bank.
Some experts believe that the aforementioned Elizabeth Smart also fell victim to the Stockholm syndrome - despite the fact that this psychological phenomenon is almost not studied and not even included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diseases - the bible of psychiatrists around the world. As a result of one of a very small number of academic studies on the Stockholm Syndrome, experts concluded that there is no subject for investigation at all.
“There is almost no evidence of the existence of a phenomenon called the Stockholm syndrome,” says clinical psychologist at Emory University Nadine Kaslow. “This topic is just bloated by the press.”
The case of a 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart being abducted in 2002 was puzzled by the public because the kidnapper often put a veil on the girl and walked with her through the streets of her hometown Salt Lake City. When nine months later Elizabeth was released, the experts published an article in the New York Times suggesting that the girl did not try to escape because she was the victim of this very Stockholm syndrome and felt an emotional connection with the kidnappers.
“It must be borne in mind that the kidnapper, among other things, becomes your breadwinner,” explains child psychologist Arthur Brand. “He is, of course, a rapist, but at the same time, he is the only person who in this situation can take care of you and prevent you from dying.”
In 2007, the FBI published the findings of its specialists, which state that a connection does indeed sometimes arise between the thief and the victim, but this happens very rarely. Smart, in turn, denies the theory of his emotional connection with the kidnappers. She claims to have remained with them solely out of fear.
Smart argues that obedience to the kidnappers does not at all indicate sympathy for them. In her case, one of the bandits, Brian Mitchell, threatened to kill her and her family if she tried to escape.
From the side it may seem that the victims of kidnapping are inferior to the kidnappers, but in reality their will turns out to be paralyzed, says Kaslow. A person caught in captivity may be so traumatized and scared that he simply cannot call for help.