Why do some men kill their sick spouses, but women rarely do?

04.10.2012, 1:18 PM

Some good comments evolving at my Huffington Post piece on elderly murder-suicide that went up yesterday. Including:

It should be clear to those who look objectively at the situation that we are dealing with violent versus non-violent coping strategies to dealing with burdensome demands of caregiving.

And:

It would help if our culture was not dumping centuries worth of social capital in abandoning notions of honor and committment when it comes to marriage.

Also a very good exchange between Jeffrey and Mythago here at FamilyScholars, where I linked to the piece below.

And, the folks at Not Dead Yet commented on the piece and Stephen Drake of that organization is commenting at Huffington Post.


7 Responses to “Why do some men kill their sick spouses, but women rarely do?”

  1. Jeffrey says:

    Men also commit suicide at much higher rates than women do. I’d be curious whether the decision to kill your spouse comes before or after the decision to kill yourself.

  2. “I’d be curious whether the decision to kill your spouse comes before or after the decision to kill yourself.”

    Great question.

  3. Chris Gable says:

    There is a lot of good experience and a lot that can be learned from the examples of gay couples during the height of HIV (and now). A lot of fighting, not a lot of giving in to illness.

    Many of those men, and I’d wager these older men (and women) too who are losing their spouse to Alzheimer’s
    (ones who don’t go the awful route this piece is about, and some who do), experience tremendous survivor’s guilt (Why him (or her) and not me?), which is little discussed and can be terribly destructive.

  4. Elizabeth Marquardt says:

    Chris, what’s your thinking if any on HIV/AIDS as a killer especially at its height of young(er) people, and dementia as something seen generally in much older people?

    As far as coping.

    A real question, I’m just thinking out loud.

  5. Chris Gable says:

    Back in the bad old days, prior to the advent of anti-retrovirals in 1996, dementia was a big part of HIV-related illness. It was the end-stage for, I’m guessing, half of fatal cases. So you often had the breakdown of the body, followed by the loss of the mind. Loss upon loss.

  6. Elizabeth marquardt says:

    Okay.

    I want to learn more. Thank you.

  7. JeffreyRO5 says:

    I wish more care could be applied to article titles, and in the nature of discussions regarding men “versus” women issues. This one implies spousal murder by men is a common occurrence, but women hardly ever do it. I hope spousal murder is a rare occurrence, regardless of the gender of the killer. If men do it at statistically significant higher rates, then so be it. But I doubt it’s common in any sense of the word.