Impact News

Responding to Violence, Suicide, Psychosis and Trauma

Women who kill their partners

Assumptions that women who kill their male partners are usually chronic sufferers of domestic abuse, mentally ill and/or intoxicated may not be true. See:

Behav Sci Law. 2012 Sep 27;

Women Who Kill Their Mates.

Bourget D, Gagné P

Spousal homicide perpetrators are much more likely to be men than women. Accordingly, little research has focused on delineating characteristics of women who have committed spousal homicide. A retrospective clinical review of coroners’ files containing all cases of spousal homicide occurring in Quebec over a 20-year period was carried out. A total of 276 spousal homicides occurred between 1991 and 2010, with 42 homicides by female spouses and 234 homicides by male spouses. Differences between homicides committed by female offenders and male offenders are discussed, and findings on spousal homicide committed by women are compared with those of previous studies. Findings regarding offenses perpetrated by females in the context of mental illness, domestic violence, and homicide-suicide are explored. The finding that only 28% of the female offenders in the Quebec sample had previously been subjected to violence by their victim is in contrast to the popular belief and reports that indicate that most female-perpetrated spousal homicide occurs in self-defense or in reaction to long-term abuse. In fact, women rarely gave a warning before killing their mates. Most did not suffer from a mental illness, although one-fifth were acutely intoxicated at the time of the killing. In the vast majority of cases of women who killed their mates, there were very few indicators that might have signaled the risk and helped predict the violent lethal behavior. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

PMID: 23015414

Filed under: Other Mental Health, Violence, , , , ,

Women’s mental health deteriorates as one in five experience common disorders

An NHS report has found a significant increase in the number of women suffering from depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts

* Ali Ahmad
*, Wednesday 28 January 2009 15.31 GMT

Women’s mental health is deteriorating according to an NHS report that has found that more than one in five of the adult female population experiences depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.

The report found the proportion of women aged 16-64 with common mental disorders (CMDs) increased from 19.1% in 1993 to 21.5% in 2007, whereas the rate in men did not alter significantly.

The largest increase in CMD rates, up 20% between 1993 and 2007, was among women aged 45-64. The proportion of women aged 16-74 reporting suicidal thoughts also increased from 4.2% in 2000 to 5.5% in 2007.

Based on the results of a study of over 7,000 households carried out by the National Centre for Social Research together with researchers at the University of Leicester, the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey is the latest in a series of surveys conducted at roughly seven-year intervals, with previous surveys carried out by the Office for National Statistics in 1993 and 2000.

Its key findings have already sparked debate among experts and mental health charities about the relationship between gender and mental illness, focusing on likely explanations of these trends.

A spokeswoman for the mental health charity Mind said: “One of the reasons that might explain the increase of common mental health problems in middle-aged women (45-64 years) could be the heavy burden they face as primary carers. Having children later in life means today’s women in their 40s and 50s face numerous responsibilities such as caring for elderly relatives, looking after young children or teenagers, and managing a full-time career. Wearing all these different hats can be very stressful and leaves little time for women to concentrate on their own mental wellbeing.”

Emma Seymour, service manager at Threshold, a Brighton-based organisation, which runs a mental health service for women says she “is not surprised by the figures”. Seymour speculates that the reasons for the deterioration in women’s mental health could include increased financial pressures, especially for lone parents, whose circumstances may well harshen in the current economic squeeze. For those who cannot afford adequate childcare provision, she points out, accessing mental health support services can be difficult, “with negative consequences for wellbeing”.

The report also found that age was a significant factor in determining the way CMDs are experienced by individuals. For instance, one in five women aged 16-24 screened positive for an eating disorder, but the figure dropped to just one in 100 among women aged 75 and over. And while men were more likely to gamble than women, the highest rate of gambling was observed in men aged 25-34 (75.4%), whereas for women it was 55-64 (69.5%).

Filed under: Other Mental Health, ,