Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Jeremy R. Porter

Committee Members

Hung-En Sung

Kevin T. Wolff

Subject Categories

Criminology and Criminal Justice


spatial analysis, situational action theory, homicide, suicide, lethal violence


Since the stream analogy (Unnithan, Corzine, Huff-Corzine, & Whitt, 1994) and the frustration-aggression approach (Henry & Short, 1954) in lethal violence phenomenon analysis, several scholars have integrated theories from outside of their fields of study to understand lethal violence under a single theoretical framework. Some of these researchers have focused on deteriorating socioeconomic conditions and the collective attributional style when explaining the causes of lethal violence; others have failed to assume the non-independence of observation among contextual predictors. Recognizing these shortcomings, this study integrates the social components of situational action theory to examine their mediating effects on the relationship between socioeconomic context and lethal violence. At the same time, this study uses spatial analysis techniques to capture the spatial effect among the contextual predictors. These findings from the spatial analyses reveal that the geographical distribution of lethal violence in the U.S. counties is far from random; the spatial process needs to be considered in the aggregated analyses. This study also suggests that the social component indicators of situational action theory mediate the relationship between socioeconomic context and lethal violence.