Mary Ann Cotton: More Poisonous than Arsenic Term Paper by Sun1shine19

Mary Ann Cotton: More Poisonous than Arsenic
An account of Mary Ann Cotton, a serial killer in the 1800s, together with some psychological explanations for her behavior.
# 110577 | 4,858 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Dec 26, 2008 in Psychology (Theory) , Criminology (General)

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This paper focuses on the life and crimes of Mary Ann Cotton, a British female serial killer in the 1800s. The paper also talks about the violentization theory formulated in this century by Lonnie Athens to explain her behavior. The author has also included two other theories, humanistic psychological theory and social control theory, to explain Mary Ann Cotton's delinquency.

From the Paper:

"Athens' time. Mary Ann Cotton was born into a small English village in 1832 and by the time Mary reached age thirty-three, she had already poisoned and killed ten people. Using Athens' theory of violentization, it is possible to understand what occurred in Mary's childhood to lead her to a life of violence. Additional theories, such as humanistic psychological theory and social control theory, could be utilized in order to explain Mary's violent actions. If Athens' theory of violentization or another theory on crime and delinquency had been available to Mary's peers or family during her childhood, the death of approximately twenty English citizens may have been prevented.
"In October 1832, a female serial killer was born in County Durham, England. Mary Ann Robson was born to two young adults who had recently married at age twenty. Throughout her childhood, Mary Ann faced multiple hardships. Mary Ann's father, Michael, was a poor miner who made hardly enough to keep his children and wife from starving. Also, her father was an avid Methodist and imposed harsh discipline on both Mary Ann and her brother, Robert. Mary Ann's father would often overstep his boundaries and discipline often bordered senseless abuse. Aggressive discipline coupled to malnutrition caused Mary Ann to frequently retreat from her family and friends."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Appleton, Arthur. Mary Ann Cotton: Her Story and Trial. London: Joseph, 1973.
  • Becker, Fiona and Lesley French. "Making the Links: Child Abuse, Animal Cruelty, and Domestic Violence." Child Abuse Review. 13.6 (2004): 399-414.
  • Bohm, Robert M. A Primer on Crime and Delinquency Theory. 2nd ed. California: Wadsworth, 2001.
  • Boisjoli, Rachel et al. "Impact and Clinical Significance of a Preventative Intervention for Disruptive Boys." The British Journal of Psychiatry. 191 (2007): 415-419.
  • Boyle, James M. E. and Tommy MacKay. "Evidence for the Efficacy of Systemic Models of Practice from a Cross-sectional Survey of Schools' Satisfaction with their Educational Psychologists." Educational Psychology in Practice. 23.1 (2007): 19-31.

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APA Format

Mary Ann Cotton: More Poisonous than Arsenic (2008, December 26) Retrieved May 26, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Mary Ann Cotton: More Poisonous than Arsenic" 26 December 2008. Web. 26 May. 2022. <>