ABOUT 65 natural parents were slain by youths under 18 each year during the ten-year period 1977–86. When this low rate of matricides and patricides is examined in light of the problems of predicting violent behavior or dangerousness,1 the conclusion is inescapable: It is impossible to predict which youths will kill their parents. Some youths, are, however, at a higher risk. Five factors help target such youths.
- The youth is raised in a chemically dependent or other dysfunctional family.
- An ongoing pattern of family violence exists in the home.
- Conditions in the home worsen, and violence escalates.
- The youth becomes increasingly vulnerable to stressors in the home environment.
- A firearm is readily available in the home.
Of the five factors, two ...