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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2009;37(3):371-6.

Murder-suicide: a review of the recent literature.

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University of California San Francisco, CA, USA.


There has been recent widespread media coverage of events that involve murder-suicide. In this paper, the author does an extensive literature review of studies about murder-suicide. The purpose is to determine whether the incidence of murder-suicide is increasing and what its risk factors are. The results of this review show that the incidence of murder-suicide remains at under 0.001%. Risk factors for murder-suicide are based on relationship between perpetrator and victims, history of domestic violence, sex or perpetrator and victim, age of perpetrator, presence of divorce/separation, use of weapon, and history of mental illness. This paper shows that the incidence of murder-suicide is low, stable, and similar to what has been reported in the past. There are, however, some distinct risk factors for murder-suicide including: substance abuse (not as common), mostly male perpetrators, depression (more common), and older male caregivers are at risk.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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