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Stockholm Syndrome

In order for the Stockholm Syndrome to develop, the hostages and hostage-takers must be in danger together, and there must be positive contact between them.

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Aristotle noted that "A common danger unites even the bitterest of enemies." Stockholm Syndrome, also known as Hostage Identification Syndrome (HIS), is characterized by a 'bond' that sometimes develops during the holding phase of hostage-taking, whether unidirectional or reciprocated. Those that are hostages, like Patty Hearst, are forced to form a bond with their captors as a means of survival. They do not do this of their own free will. They have lost their free will as a result of the trauma they have experienced. The pressure of the uncertainty of life or death, along with helplessness and loss of control, leads to a variety of coping mechanisms including denial, repression, and identification. Social scientists studying the Stockholm Syndrome have found it to be an unconscious survival mechanism that remains long after the hostage incident has been resolved and the danger gone. These researchers, however, have also found that in order for the Stockholm Syndrome to develop certain conditions must exist. The hostages and hostage-takers must be in ...

Solution Summary

Stockholm Syndrome, also known as Hostage Identification Syndrome (HIS), is characterized by a 'bond' that sometimes develops during the holding phase of hostage-taking, whether unidirectional or reciprocated.

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