Circumstances Preceding Homicide-Suicides Involving Child Victims: A Qualitative Analysis

Kristin M. Holland, Sabrina V. Brown, Jeffrey E. Hall, Joseph E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Homicide-suicide incidents involving child victims can have a detrimental impact on survivors of the violence, family members and friends of the decedents, and other community members, but the rare occurrence of these acts makes using quantitative data to examine their associated antecedents challenging. Therefore, using qualitative data from the 2003-2011 National Violent Death Reporting System, we examined 175 cases of homicide-suicide involving child victims in an effort to better understand the complex situational factors of these events. Our findings indicate that 98% of homicide-suicides with child victims are perpetrated by adults (mostly parents) and propelled by the perpetrators’ intimate partner problems, mental health problems, and criminal/legal problems. These events are often premeditated, and plans for the violence are sometimes disclosed prior to its occurrence. Findings provide support for several theoretical perspectives, and implications for prevention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-401
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This manuscript was financially supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.


  • filicide
  • homicide-suicide
  • murder-suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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