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NCJ Number: 220483 Find in a Library
Title: Homicide Followed by Suicide: An Integrated Theoretical Perspective
Journal: Homicide Studies  Volume:11  Issue:4  Dated:November 2007  Pages:295-318
Author(s): Dee Wood Harper; Lydia Voigt
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 24
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study presents a theoretical model using structural conflict intensity factors such as conflict intensity, social stress-strain, and dominance or control to offer a more complete understanding of homicide followed by suicide.
Abstract: Results showed that all the cases of homicide-suicide demonstrated some conflict intensity structures such as dependency or assumed responsibility, unequal relationships, previous jealousy or hostility, and precipitating crises or other triggers such as illness, divorce, impending arrest, job loss, and financial crisis. Moreover, they also exhibited various elements of stress-strain and power dominance. For example, blocked needs or goals (money, sex, masculine status, or autonomy) represented the main themes of the family annihilation-suicide cases and the public killing spree-suicide case. Loss of nurturer or loss of meaning served as the predominant theme of the mercy killing–suicide and accidental homicide-suicide cases. Control and power dominance especially characterized the intimate or domestic lethal violence-suicide cases. The perpetrators across the sample often perceived themselves as failures, and frequently considered their victims either as having contributed to the failure or as being part of the failure or futile conditions. In most of the cases, someone tried to leave the relationship, which triggered the controlling response on the part of the perpetrator. In the majority of the intimate or domestic lethal violence-suicide cases, the woman had gone or was about to leave at the time of the homicide–suicide. Even the elderly couples in the sample experienced someone on the verge of leaving (death) which resulted in the cases of mercy killing-suicide as a means of ending their mutual suffering. The perpetrators were in stressful or agitated states and were seeking through their violence to bring an end to their frustration, futile circumstances, suffering, and humiliation by killing their intimate partners and then themselves. The sample consisted of 42 homicide-suicide cases that occurred in greater metropolitan New Orleans between 1989 and 2001. A broader study is currently in progress. Figure, notes, references
Main Term(s): Family homicide; Homicide; Homicide causes; Suicide
Index Term(s): Sociological analyses
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