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GENDER, INTIMACY, AND LETHAL VIOLENCE:

ANGELA BROWNE, KIRK R. WILLIAMS

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Only a few studies have disaggregated homicide rates by relationship type or gender, with little investigation of homicide trends in adult marital and other intimate relationships. The current study documents patterns of homicide between opposite gender relational partners for the twelve years of 1976 through 1987 based on Supplementary Homicide Report Data, comparing rates between couples in marital and nonmarital relationships. Analyses reveal that the homicide rate for married couples declined somewhat during this period, although the drop in the rate of wives killing husbands was greater than the drop in the rate of husbands killing wives. However, homicides involving unmarried couples followed a very different pattern. Whereas the lethal victimization rate for men in unmarried relationships varied unsystematically over time from 1976 through 1987, the rate of unmarried women being killed by their male partners increased significantly. Findings demonstrate the importance of disaggregating homicide data by gender and relationship type so that crucial differences can be detected.