A Comparison of Intimate Partner Homicide With Intimate Partner Homicide-Suicide: Evidence From a Norwegian National 22-Year Cohort

J Interpers Violence. 2021 Sep;36(17-18):8231-8256. doi: 10.1177/0886260519849656. Epub 2019 May 20.


Homicide-suicide incidents make up a relatively small proportion of homicides overall, but occur more frequently in certain subtypes of homicide, such as men who kill their female partners. This study investigates aspects of intimate partner homicide-suicide (IPHS) by comparing it with intimate partner homicide (IPH). All IPHs in Norway from 1990 to 2012 (N = 177) were included. Quantitative data were extracted from court documents. Qualitative data were collected by interviews with bereaved. Multivariate logistic regression analyses and systematic text condensation were conducted. Nearly one fourth of IPHs were identified as IPHS. Perpetrators of IPHS were less likely to have a previous criminal record, even having a history of disregard and violations of the law. Perpetrators of IPHS were mainly native-born citizens and were more educated than IPH perpetrators. The motive of IPHS was more often jealousy than a dispute, but the motive was most often recorded as "other" or "unknown." IPHS was perceived as intentional, and the bereaved did not unambiguously support the interpretation that the IPHS had been triggered by stressful situations. The bereaved pointed to the loss of hope or loss of a future combined with an inability to cope with severe disappointments as an important risk factor. Within the framework of an interactional perspective, our findings indicate that IPHS shares more characteristics with IPH than it does with other categories of homicide and other violent deaths in general.

Keywords: homicide; homicide-suicide; intimate partner homicide; intimate partner violence; motives; perpetrator distinction; suicide.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Homicide
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide*