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NCJ Number: 221603 Find in a Library
Title: Reassessing the Structural Covariates of Cross-National Infant Homicide Victimization
Journal: Homicide Studies  Volume:12  Issue:1  Dated:February 2008  Pages:46-66
Author(s): Gwen Hunnecutt; Gary LaFree
Date Published: February 2008
Page Count: 21
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article builds on the findings from fours studies of infant homicide victimization, using an expanded sample of countries, a longer time series, more valid measures, additional variables, and tests of gender differences.
Abstract: Results revealed a connection between female labor force participation and female infant homicide victimization rates, implying that infanticide is a matter of resources, economic stress, the status of women in society, or guardianship. Compared with other countries, those that scored highest on culture of violence measures actually had significantly lower rates of infant homicide victimization. The practice of infanticide has often been interpreted as a signal of the desperation of women and is often regarded as being bound up with women’s oppression. In considering the association between availability of abortion and the homicide victimization of infants and toddlers, legalization of abortion was associated with decreases in the homicide of toddlers but not of infants. Analysis also found a positive relationship between income inequality and female infant homicide victimization. Societies with extreme poverty may use infant homicide as a means to conserve resources, reduce economic strain, or improve the quality of life for the family. Infanticide actually decreases in countries characterized by a culture of violence. Whereas adult homicide victimization is rooted in violent cultural norms, perhaps infant homicide stems from nonviolent social norms, particularly in the case of benevolent infanticide (mercy killing), where the goal may be to alleviate suffering, not to cause it. This may be particularly true for infants who are deformed, infants who are illegitimate or motherless, female infants, or infants who are the result of multiple births. Alleviating economic stress through government social programs may be more important to decreasing infanticide than addressing other types of economic stress, such as income disparity or unemployment. Increases in government support of family services, day care relief, and other types of parental support, might mitigate some negative effect of the economic impact of women in the labor force. Data were collected from 27 countries, based on available data. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Homicide causes; Infanticide; International
Index Term(s): Females; Social classes; Social conditions; Social psychology
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