Disentangling the effects of gender and intimacy on victim precipitation in homicide

Richard B. Felson, Steven F. Messner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Research indicates that incidents in which women kill their husbands are more likely to involve victim precipitation than incidents in which men kill their wives. Formulating a causal interpretation of this finding, however, is complicated because the observed pattern may reflect gender differences in violence rather than any special dynamics between husbands and wives. In this research, we introduce and illustrate a framework for disentangling the effects of intimacy and gender on violence. We examine the additive and multiplicative effects of the gender of the offender, the gender of the victim, and the relationship between the offender and victim on victim precipitation. For the most part, the pattern of victim precipitation in homicide reflects the fact that males tend to be more violent than females. However, we find some evidence of special dynamics for intimate partner homicides: Men who are killed by their partners tend to have more violent records than men who are killed in other circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-424
Number of pages20
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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