IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Precursors of lethal violence: a death row sample


  • Freedman, David
  • Hemenway, David


A qualitative methodology based on the standards of criminal defense investigation was used to analyze the social and family histories of 16 men sentenced to death in California. Using a multisource cross-validation methodology, we assessed patterns of impairment, injury and deficit at each of four ecological levels: family, individual, community and social institutions. Investigation documented consistent and pervasive patterns of serious impairment, injury and deficit across the cases and levels. The men share numerous risk factors and few resiliency factors associated with violence. We found family violence in all 16 cases, including severe physical and/or sexual abuse in 14 cases; individual impairments in 16, including 14 with post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 with severe depression and 12 with histories of traumatic brain injury; community isolation and violence in 12; and institutional failure in 15, including 13 cases of severe physical and/or sexual abuse while in foster care or under state youth authority jurisdiction. Appropriate interventions might have made a difference in reducing lethal violence and its precursor conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Freedman, David & Hemenway, David, 2000. "Precursors of lethal violence: a death row sample," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(12), pages 1757-1770, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:50:y:2000:i:12:p:1757-1770

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wagstaff, Adam, 1991. "QALYs and the equity-efficiency trade-off," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 21-41, May.
    2. Gerdtham, U. -G. & Johannesson, M. & Lundberg, L. & Isacson, D., 1999. "A note on validating Wagstaff and van Doorslaer's health measure in the analysis of inequalities in health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 117-124, January.
    3. Newbold, K. Bruce & Eyles, John & Birch, Stephen, 1995. "Equity in health care: Methodological contributions to the analysis of hospital utilization within Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1181-1192, May.
    4. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Paci, Pierella, 1991. "On the measurement of horizontal inequity in the delivery of health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 169-205, July.
    5. Culyer, A. J. & Wagstaff, Adam, 1993. "Equity and equality in health and health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 431-457, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:50:y:2000:i:12:p:1757-1770. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.