Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This study is a contextual event history analysis of the risk of homicide victimization in the United States from 1986 to 2002. Although the majority of research on homicide deals with how community factors influence homicide rates, a much less studied aspect of homicide victimization deals with the influence of individual factors on homicide victimization risk. This study examines the influence of contextual-level measures of social disorganization on the risk of homicide victimization and focuses specifically on how the effects of these measures change once individual-level characteristics are considered in the models. Grounded in social disorganization theory, this study includes contextual-level predictors of disadvantage, including measures representative of resource deprivation, urbanness, and housing instability. Lifestyle theory suggests that a person’s individual attributes may compel that person to behave in certain ways that may work to either increase or decrease their risk of being the victim of a crime, and may also reduce or diminish the effects of the social structure on their risk of victimization. This study, using National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data matched with National Death Index (NDI) data, examines the intersection of these ideas and seeks to explain how community context influences one’s chance of being a homicide victim and especially on how individual attributes alter the relationship between community context and homicide victimization. The findings of this research indicate that individuals living in areas with high concentrations of disadvantage, such as resource deprivation, urbanization, and housing instability experience increased risk of being the victim of a homicide. However, a person’s individual traits, particularly age, race, and sex do, in fact, greatly reduce the criminogenic consequences of both resource deprivation and housing instability on their risk of being killed by a homicide. However, regardless of a person’s individual attributes, living in an area with high levels of urbanization have three times greater odds of being killed by a homicide, compared to person’s living in MSAs with less urbanization. In this study, urbanization is measured using an index obtained from a principal components analysis that contains measures of population size, population density, and two measures of racial/ethnic heterogeneity.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Blanchard, Troy C.



Included in

Sociology Commons