Effects of Diverse Forms of Family Structure on Female and Male Homicide


Department of Sociology, Washington State University, P.O. Box 644020, Pullman, WA 99164-4020 (schwartj@wsu.edu).


Utilizing 2000 data on 1,618 counties and seemingly unrelated regression, I assess whether family structure effects on homicide vary across family structure measures and gender. There is evidence of robust, multidimensional family structure effects across constructs reflecting the presence of two-parent families: mother/father absence, shortages of employed men, and nonmarital/teen childbearing. Findings indicate mainly gender similarity in family structural sources of homicide, but subtle gender differences include stronger effects on male homicide patterns and female-specific mediating effects of the care burden on homicide. Further exploration of diverse family constructs is warranted, but, methodologically, father absence is adequate as a control for family structure. Public policies and social programs aimed at strengthening families could lessen violence among both women and men.