Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Dr. Peter Jaffe

Abstract

Extensive research has been conducted on domestic homicide in younger populations; however, very little is known about such incidents in the older population. It is vital that this gap in the literature be filled as Canada’s older population has been increasing. Data for this study was provided by the Ontario Domestic Violence Death Review Committee. Ninety-two domestic homicide and suicide cases were examined to determine whether there were differences between younger age groups (30 to 50 years of age) and older age groups (55 years of age and older). Information was gathered on prominent characteristics and risk factors within cases in the older population. Results indicate that cases in the older population have significantly less risk factors present. Older perpetrators are more likely to commit suicide after the homicide, be depressed, have access to a firearm, and have less outside contact. The role of caregiver stress and illness within the couple’s relationship is discussed and examined within the cases studied. This research offers several implications and recommendations for professional and public sectors, and highlights the importance of appropriate risk assessment strategies.