BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Date of Submission



Dr. Sahar Nadeem Hamid, Assistant Professor and Chairperson Social Sciences & Liberal Arts


Habiba Zaheer, Visiting Faculty, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


This study explores the psychosocial development of four notorious serial killers: John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, and Javed Iqbal. By examining their experiences across the psychosocial stages proposed by Erikson (1963), discernible patterns in their lives were identified in order to understand and analyze what potential maladaptive traits they exhibited. A comprehensive analysis was conducted through qualitative research methodology, whereby each stage was broken down to create a psychobiography. The results revealed recurring patterns of abuse, neglect, disrupted interpersonal relations, and identity struggles in the lives of these serial killers. The commonalities among them offer valuable insights into potential factors influencing the emergence of deviant behaviors and provide a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics involved in serial murder. These findings encourage further investigation to establish clinically usable criteria that can be used to identify individuals who may be more prone to maladaptive behaviours. This would be helpful in order to rehabilitate such individuals before they carry out any potential criminal offences.


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