Psychological Profile of John Wayne Gacy Case Study
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Updated: Sep 19th, 2022
John Wayne Gacy was a serial killer and rapist, who murdered and tortured 33 young boys in the 1980s. Almost all of them he lured them to his house and then strangled them to death. The in his basement. The psychological profile of this criminal could help solve or prevent further crimes by identifying the patterns of his behavior and the nature of his abnormalities.
Case Study: Psychological Profile of John Wayne Gacy
Background, Early, and Middle Childhood
To have a better insight into Gacys psychopathic behavior and crimes we need to delve into his Childhood. Gacy was born into a family of a homemaker mother and a father veteran of the First World War and a car repair person. In his young years, Gacy never received enough of his fathers love and recognition. In fact, he frequently became a victim of violence from his fathers side often for no particular reason. The senior Gacy had a problem with alcohol, which has contributed to the complicated family relationships and was often a cause for multiple beatings and humiliations he inflicted upon his son. Despite that fact, according to his statements, Gacy never hated his father and always tried to earn his respect. As a child, Gacy was having problems with excessive weight, which caused him troubles at school, namely, the lack of friends and bullying from peers (Cahill, 1986). Together with the absence of fathers approval, this probably was a reason for his low self-esteem.
Among other childhood experiences that may be considered signs of Gacys abnormality was the fact that a family friend molested him at the age of seven. He never told his parents about the incident out of fear of mockery and beatings from his father. A shocking experience of that kind with no help from a trained psychologist or simply an understanding family left Gacy no choice other than to reflect on this event by himself and to decide on the rightness or wrongness of it.
Gacys troubled childhood and his later development into a psychopath murderer can be a vivid illustration of dependence on childhood maltreatment and the formation of violent criminal behaviors. According to Caspi et al. (2002), genetic vulnerability, namely the polymorphism in monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), together with bad childhood experiences can trigger the development of aggressive behavior.
This theory is further backed by Raine (2008), who suggests that a reduced prefrontal gray matter as a result of a gene deviation triggers the brain to function atypically, which causes abnormal emotional, cognitive, and behavioral reactions. According to the researchers data, 85% of psychopaths featured the above-mentioned gene and brain deficiencies. This gives a reason to believe that the early life experience, given the susceptibility of the future offenders mind, among other things, may have triggered the development of his psychopathic behavior.