Examining Attempted and Completed Intimate Partner Homicide: A Qualitative Synthesis

Violence Vict. 2019 Dec 1;34(6):869-888. doi: 10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-18-00128.


Intimate Partner Homicide (IPH) is one of the leading causes of death for women in the United States. Recent research has identified the strongest risk markers for IPH from quantitative studies, but there is still a need to synthesize what is known about IPH from qualitative studies. Additionally, few studies have examined perpetrator-reported motivations for IPH, along with victim's and co-victims' experiences of attempted or completed IPH. In order to synthesize the current qualitative literature surrounding motivations and risk factors for IPH, a thematic qualitative synthesis was conducted. This qualitative synthesis included 20 studies that examined IPH risk factors, motivations, and other pertinent themes related to IPH. Some of the most prevalent reported motivations for committing IPH were loss of control, jealousy, relationship termination, and a history of intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization (i.e., self-defense). A few of the most common risk factors for IPH found in the qualitative literature included previous IPV, coercive control, and the victim underestimating danger/lethality. It is important for both clinicians and law enforcement to know more about IPH so that that they are able to assess situations effectively.

Keywords: intimate partner homicide; motivations; qualitative; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Partners*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Women's Health