Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Homicide-suicides unrelated to social class, Swiss study shows

Date:
January 30, 2013
Source:
University of Bern
Summary:
Homicide-suicides in households occur across all social classes in Switzerland. A new study reveals that life stressors, such as divorce, temporary residency status, or cramped living conditions, are risk factors. The rate at which these offenses are committed, mostly by men with firearms, has been steady over the last twenty years.

Homicide-suicides in households occur across all social classes in Switzerland. A University of Bern study reveals that life stressors, such as divorce, temporary residency status, or cramped living conditions, are risk factors. The rate at which these offenses are committed, mostly by men with firearms, has been steady over the last twenty years.

There are around six or seven household homicide-suicides a year in Switzerland. For the first time, risk factors have been examined in a Swiss national cohort study, by a group headed by Radoslaw Panczak and Professor Matthias Egger of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern. The results, published in the journal PLoS ONE in January, show that frequency of these events did not change during this period.

In homicides followed by the perpetrator's suicide, there is a clear division of gender roles. In over 93% of the cases examined, perpetrators were male; 84% of the victims were female. In 75% of these incidents, a man murdered his wife; in another 8%, he also killed one or more children. The age distribution of the perpetrators peaks at 45 and 75. "Besides classic homicide-suicides motivated by jealousy, there are also perpetrators in the older generation who kill their seriously ill wives out of despair or an inability to cope," says Egger. Male perpetrators were more frequently divorced than married and, and more often without religious affiliation than Catholic. The presence of children in the household, native language, and urban or rural environment appeared to have no effect.

The study also showed no connection between social class and the incidence of household homicide-suicides. According to the researchers, education and the profession had no influence, either. Nationality did not play a role, with a single exception: foreigners on a temporary residency permit were more frequently perpetrators. "Other stressful life situations, such as divorces or cramped living conditions also increase the risk," said Professor Egger.

Firearms almost always used

The weapon used in over 85% of cases was a firearm. The researchers were unable to determine if these were military weapons because this data is not included in the mortality statistics. According to Egger, however, international studies show a strong correlation between the availability of firearms and the number of homicide-suicides in a country. Switzerland has more of these events, in proportion to the population, than do other European nations. Professor Egger is convinced that "homicide-suicides could be prevented by limiting access to weapons."

This was the first national cohort on the topic of homicide-suicides at population level, and it analysed a total of seventy-three incidents, in which 158 people were killed. The project is part of the Swiss National Cohort (http://www.swissnationalcohort.ch) and was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Federal Statistical Office.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bern. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Radoslaw Panczak, Marcel Zwahlen, Adrian Spoerri, Kali Tal, Martin Killias, Matthias Egger. Incidence and Risk Factors of Homicide–Suicide in Swiss Households: National Cohort Study. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (1): e53714 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053714

Cite This Page:

University of Bern. "Homicide-suicides unrelated to social class, Swiss study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130082443.htm>.
University of Bern. (2013, January 30). Homicide-suicides unrelated to social class, Swiss study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130082443.htm
University of Bern. "Homicide-suicides unrelated to social class, Swiss study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130082443.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins