Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William B. Bankston


This study examines the question of why sex ratios of intimate killing vary across relationship type, race, and ultimately--place. The research investigates the influences of rates of family disruption and the direct and indirect affects of gender inequality in communities on various relationship and race specific sex ratios of intimate killing (SROK's). The results of OLS regression analyses reveal that the indirect effects (through family disruption) of gender inequality on relationship-specific SROK's are negligible, but the independent direct effects are considerable. Contrary to much of the criminological literature, higher female-to-male employment in a community does not lead to higher rates of female violence relative to males, but to higher rates of male violence relative to females. The reverse is also true. This leads to the conclusion that the gender group which fares the worst economically is also the group which kills more relative to the other group. No claim is made that it is the individuals who are economically disadvantaged that kill, only that in the context of economic inequality in a community, intimate killing tends to favor the disadvantaged gender group. Additionally, the results reveal that neither the direct nor indirect affects of gender inequality on race-specific SROK's are significant, although when race is controlled for in the relationship-specific models, a significant effect is found.