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Spousal SROK Revisited: A Comparison of Chicago and Houston Intimate Partner Homicide Ratios

NCJ Number
Gender Issues Volume: 18 Issue: 1 Dated: Winter 2000 Pages: 88-100
Date Published
13 pages

Based on the work of Wilson and Daly (1992), as well as Gauthier and Bankston (1997), this study determined how the spousal sex ratios of killing (SROKs) in Chicago and Houston, i.e., the number of female perpetrators for every 100 male perpetrators who killed their spouses.


In the first study of its kind, Wilson and Daly conducted a cross-cultural examination of intimate partner homicide, analyzing what they termed the spousal "sex ratio of killing" (SROK). This was done by analyzing urban police records in Detroit and Chicago; New South Wales, Australia; Canada; England; Wales; and Scotland for various sets of years. In a subsequent study, Gauthier and Bankston analyzed the SROK for 191 U.S. cities for 1988 through 1992. The current study adds to a general understanding of the problem of intimate partner violence. The study found that SROKs in both cities were high only for the killing of spouses and children. There was no convergence of SROKs in the two cities in the killing of other blood relatives, nor acquaintances or strangers. A similar number of women to men were homicide perpetrators in registered compared to defacto marriages in Houston; however, their number varied greatly between these two relationship forms in Chicago. The analyses also show that men's relative risk of being a victim of intimate partner homicide in both cities decreased significantly when the two parties were estranged. Only three men per every 10 women in Houston were killed when estranged from their intimate partners; the ratio is less than 5-to-10 for Chicago. Another major finding is that large SROKs in the two cities were primarily a Black phenomenon, followed by non-Hispanic Whites, and Hispanics. 12 tables and 11 references

Date Published: January 1, 2000