Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



During the second half of the 20th century, changes in gender relations and equality have led to substantial shifts in many aspects of American life. As one feature of society, the relationship between social structure and crime has also changed with the shift from traditional to nontraditional views of gendered interaction. In particular, what were once thought to be invariant structural predictors of homicide may, in fact, have varying explanatory power over time; in particular, measurements of disadvantage and population structure may not equally affect men and women between 1970 and 2000. Therefore, the present study posits a transformation in the strength of these known covariates of homicide to explain county-level rates of homicide disaggregated by gender, by gender and victim/offender relationship, and by gender and race. Using Supplementary Homicide Reports and U.S. census data from 1970 to 2000, negative binomial regression results show variance in the explanatory power of homicide predictors between 1970 and 2000. Specifically, as they are related to male and female offending, measures of resource disadvantage have a greater effect at all time points on homicides perpetrated by females; while in contrast, measures of population structure have a larger effect on male homicide offenses in 1980, 1990, and 2000. When gender and the victim/offender relationship are considered, the most notable outcome indicates that for counts of homicides perpetrated by females who did not know their victims, the effects of structural covariates of homicide drastically increase in their predictive strength between 1980 and 2000. Finally, accounting for offender’s gender and race illustrates that with homicides perpetrated by whites, regardless of gender, the association with measures of resource deprivation and population structure is significant in 1980, but nonsignificant in 1990 and 2000. In contrast, the relationship between structural predictors and homicides committed by nonwhites is consistently significant from 1980 to 2000. Conceptual and theoretical implications of the results are also proposed.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Lee, Matthew R.

Included in

Sociology Commons