Infant homicide: Victim/offender relationship and causes of death

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Abstract

The phenomenon of infant homicide (infanticide) has been examined, explained, justified, and treated according to physiological, psychiatric, and psychological correlates. There has been little examination of the social correlates directly pertaining to infant homicide. However, social correlates are often indirectly addressed in the medical and psychiatric literature. This paper tests relationships between social correlates often asserted, but typically not tested, in the medical and psychiatric literature. Using a sample of 380 infant homicides in Texas from 1981 through 1991, a multivariate analysis between victim/offender relationship, cause of death, and victim's age at time of fatal injury, predicts the age at which an infant (≤34 months) is likely to be fatally injured. The findings support the following hypotheses: (1) as the age of the victim increases, the level of violence used to fatally injure the infant increases; and (2) as the level of relational intimacy decreases, the level of violence used to fatally injure the infant increases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-297
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1998

Keywords

  • Child fatalities
  • Family violence
  • Infant mortality
  • Infanticide
  • Victim/offender relationship

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