Title page for ETD etd-06092008-142228

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Melder, Mark
Author's Email Address melderm@nsula.edu
URN etd-06092008-142228
Title The Anomaly of Racial Variance in Female Perpetrated Spousal Killing: A Structural Explanation
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William B. Bankston Committee Chair
Edward Shihadeh Committee Member
Matthew Lee Committee Member
Thomas Durant Committee Member
Daphne Cain Dean's Representative
  • spatial conflux
  • race
  • relationships
  • racial invariance hypothesis
  • intimate partner homicide
  • spousal killing
Date of Defense 2008-05-14
Availability unrestricted

Research investigating the relationship of structural factors to homicide abounds in the literature. There is also extant research on female perpetrated intimate partner killings (IPK). However this literature for the most part has examined the phenomenon itself, or has disaggregated the rates by race, where it was discovered that there is a racial anomaly in intimate killings, Black females kill their partners at a higher rate than White females. This research sought to determine how structural factors function to differentially amplify this rate, using classic controls for homicide and adding measures for the presence of female kin, the presence of children not related to the male, and doing this in a race specific manner.

Using a sample of 234 MSA’s, Supplementary Homicide Report data was utilized to create these race and relationship specific models, which were analyzed with Poisson regression.

Contrary to expectations, the presence of children was only found to have an effect on White spousal killings, and no effect in the other three models. Support was found for Sampson and Wilson’s (1995) racial invariance hypothesis in that the most significant findings in the Black models related to the confluence of high density housing and dissimilarity measures. This ‘spatial conflux’ served to explain the anomalous findings in regard to the Gini coefficient, in Black IPK models as the Gini decreased, homicides went up. Contrary to other studies, female headed households, as well as other standard predictors of homicide were not found to be significant in relation to IPK.

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