Author(s): WeekesShackelford VA, Shackelford TK
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Abstract Stepparents commit filicide at higher rates than do genetic parents. According to M. Daly and M. I. Wilson (1994), motivational differences generate differences in the methods by which stepparents and genetic parents kill a child. Using Canadian and British national-level databases, Daly and Wilson (1994) found that stepfathers were more likely than genetic fathers to commit filicide by beating and bludgeoning, arguably revealing stepparental feelings of bitterness and resentment not present to the same degree in genetic fathers. Genetic fathers, in contrast, were more likely than stepfathers to commit filicide by shooting or asphyxiation, methods which often produce a relatively quick and painless death. We sought to replicate and extend these findings using a United States national-level database of over 400,000 homicides. Results replicate those of Daly and Wilson (1994) for genetic fathers and stepfathers. In addition, we identified similar differences in the methods by which stepmothers and genetic mothers committed filicide. Discussion addresses stepparental psychology in light of the current research, limitations of the current study, and future directions for research on this topic.
This article was published in Violence Vict
and referenced in Anthropology