Parricide and Violent Crimes: A Canadian Study

By Marleau, Jacques D.; Webanck, Thierry | Adolescence, Summer 1997 | Go to article overview

Parricide and Violent Crimes: A Canadian Study


Marleau, Jacques D., Webanck, Thierry, Adolescence


Recently, Young (1993) demonstrated a negative correlation (r = -.59, p = .02) between parricide rates and the rates for criminal violence in the United States from 1977 to 1988. He also observed that the rates for patricide (r = -.62, p = .02) and for matricide (r = -.19, p = .28) correlate negatively with criminal violence rates. Young (1993) concluded that these results support Megargee's (1982) hypothesis, indicating that a negative correlation suggests that factors influencing violent crime rates do not act in the same way on parricide rates.

METHOD

Taking Young's study further, the objective here was to examine the correlations between parricide rates and criminal violence rates in Canada. This research was based on Canadian data covering the period from 1962 to 1985. Data on parricides and criminal violence are from publications of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics [Murder Statistics (1967, 1968, 1971), Homicide Statistics (1971 to 1976), Homicide in Canada (1986), and Juristat (1992).]

The different rates used to calculate the correlations were established by dividing the number of parricides and violent crimes committed during a given year by the population of Canada on June 1 of the same year. These results were then multiplied by 100,000.

RESULTS

Analysis of the Canadian data (1962 to 1985) indicates a positive correlation between parricide rates and criminal violence rates (r = .58, p [less than] .01). (The rates for fratricide (r = .40, ns) and filicide (r = .35, ns) correlate positively with rates for criminal violence.) From 1962 to 1973 and 1974 to 1985, the correlations are also positive (r = .61, p [less than] .05, and r = .60, p [less than] .05, respectively).

Moreover, the rates for patricide (r = .38, ns) and matricide (r = .46, p [less than] .05) correlate positively with criminal violence rates. These correlations vary considerably over time (Table 1). From 1962 to 1973, they are positive; only one is statistically significant, the one between the rates for patricide and criminal violence (r = .62, p [less than] .05). For the most recent period, from 1974 to 1985, the only significant correlation is between the rates for matricide and criminal violence (r = .79, p [less than] .01).

CONCLUSION

In Canada, from 1962 to 1985, the correlation between the rates for parricide and criminal violence is positive. Analysis of other types of intrafamilial crime (fratricide and filicide) also demonstrates a positive correlation with criminal violence. These data conflict with Young's data and do not confirm Megargee's hypothesis.

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