Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The research that examines female homicide offenders goes little further than investigating whether or not offenders were previously victimized by those whom they kill. This research project is designed to contribute to this extant body of literature and theory in two ways. The first is to add and provide a comprehensive picture of African-American and white female homicide offenders in intimate versus non-intimate relationships in homicidal events. The second manner of contribution lies in the testing of a creative and integrative theoretical model. This model addresses race, underclass context, alcohol use, social disorganization and prior arrest record of female homicide offenders in intimate versus non-intimate person killings.

This research employs a secondary analysis of homicide data for the jurisdiction of Chicago from 1980 through 1995. Bivariate and multivariate techniques are utilized in order to develop and test the fuller picture and model of African-American and white women who kill. The results indicate that race of the offenders is not the only variable tied to the occurrence of an intimate versus non-intimate partner homicide. Other factors that mediate the race effects are found in considerations surrounding such variables as underclass context and prior arrest record of the victim. And more specifically, that race of the offender may not be the best predictor of intimate versus non-intimate partner homicide. Past interpretations underscore the significance of investigating the multiple mediating factors that help to understand African-American and white women homicide offenders. It is in this light that recommendations for future research are offered by way of conclusion.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Criminology Commons