Stockholm Syndrome Is a Condition Term Paper

  • Length: 2 pages
  • Sources: 3
  • Subject: Psychology
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #5969795
  • Related Topics: Deadly Force, Aristotle

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Ultimately, most people recognized Hearst underwent intense brainwashing, and her prison sentence was eventually reduced. In fact, "she later had her sentence commuted by President Carter, after psychiatrists determined that she had developed a pseudo-identity as a survival strategy" (Card 214). Thus, the Stockholm Syndrome played a huge part in her support of her SLA captors and her eventual pardon.

The Stockholm Syndrome makes absolute sense in that hostages are at the will of their captors, and to live, they must quickly adapt. An expert said of Heart's situation, "If the pressure is strong enough, people exposed to new environments and beliefs can actually change their entire perspective" (Ramsland 5). While some people do not believe the syndrome exists, it simply makes sense from many perspectives that it does. According to Aristotle's definition of free will, some people will sometimes do what they desire because they want to, rather than doing what is "right" or they are supposed to do. In this, Hearst and other captives could be seen as acting of their own free will in supporting their captors, but in reality, they were using reason and choice to make sure they survived their ordeal. Thus, their reality and need to survive was far different that an outsider's perception of that reality. Only they knew what they experienced at the hands of their captors, and only they could make the decisions they felt would keep them alive at the time. The Stockholm Syndrome has been observed many times, and it makes sense that a captive would use any means available to ensure their eventual release. While some may feel the Stockholm Syndrome does not exist, most evidence indicates it does, and that it is the only way some hostages have managed to survive their capture.


Campbell, James F., and Paul Pederson. Hostage: Terror and Triumph. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992.

Card, Claudia. The Atrocity Paradigm: A Theory of Evil. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Ramsland, Katherine. "The Claiming of Patty Hearst."…

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