Cases of Murder-Suicide Among Jamaican Immigrants in the United States

28 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2016

See all articles by Christopher Charles

Christopher Charles

University of the West Indies

Shua-Kym McLean

Swarthmore College

Date Written: August 21, 2016


This study examines some of the contributing factors to murder-suicide incidents among Jamaican immigrants in the United States from 22 February 2010 to 1 January 2016. Acculturation was used to frame the case studies of seven murder-suicides reported in the Jamaica Gleaner and the Jamaica Observer newspapers. The findings reveal that the perpetrators, most of whom were men (6 of 7), had resided in the United States between three and 10 years. The men were unemployed or in low status jobs compared with their spouses. There were 18 targets with spouses being the primary ones. The triggers were relationship problems, workplace problem and mental disorder. The majority of the perpetrators used a gun. Most of the incidents were completed and occurred in New York, Texas and Florida. Some of the contributing factors to the murder-suicide incidents identified include the move from a violent home country to a violent host country, the experience of negative intercultural contacts evident in labour market discrimination, the reversal of traditional gender roles in the host country, easy access to firearms, and very stressful relationships during the adjustment process in the United States. A total of 22 persons were killed and three injured over five years.

Suggested Citation

Charles, Christopher and McLean, Shua-Kym, Cases of Murder-Suicide Among Jamaican Immigrants in the United States (August 21, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Christopher Charles (Contact Author)

University of the West Indies ( email )

Kingston 7
Mona, Mona Kingston 7

Shua-Kym McLean

Swarthmore College ( email )

500 College Ave
Swarthmore, PA 19081
United States

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