Psychological Explanations: The Terri Lynne McClintic Case


  • Megan Davidson Mount Royal University


This article will address the 2009 kidnapping and murder of eight-year-old Victoria Elizabeth Stafford, committed by Terri-Lynne McClintic and Michael Rafferty, as well as a discussion on the nonconformist perspective on human nature and social control theory, and a psychological discussion around the formative years of Terri-Lynne McClintic's youth. Within this paper, McClintic’s psychology will be explored from a nonconformist perspective, where it is shown that she lacks the social controls to restrain her from committing crimes. From a psychological perspective, early childhood offers insight into McClintic's deviant and deadly behaviour. The peer rejection by those at the many schools McClintic attended and early exposure to substance abuse by her adoptive mother, Carol McClintic, led to higher chances of deviant and antisocial behaviour, as well as mood and anxiety disorders. While the exact factors that caused McClintic to murder Stafford may remain speculative, understanding her childhood risk factors and their psychological effects may help prevent future crimes through the development of resources and family support systems to foster success in the first years of a child’s life.