Stockholm Syndrome Law and Legal Definition

The Stockholm syndrome is a psychological symptom that occurs in some individuals who are in a captive or hostage situation. Individuals with these symptoms tend to sympathize with or support their captives. They develop a paradoxical emotional bond with their captors and develop positive feelings towards them. This syndrome is also known as Survival Identification syndrome. This syndrome derives its name from a 1973 hostage incident in Stockholm, Sweden, where at the end of their captivity, many victims of that hostage incident became emotionally attached to their captors and even defended them after they were freed.

The Stockholm syndrome is manifested by the act of loyalty to a powerful abuser in spite of the danger that the individual may be exposed to by such act. The loyalty that the victims of domestic abuse and child abuse exhibit to their captors is a variant of this syndrome.