Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Heather Pruss


In his book Suicide, Emile Durkheim posited that there were four types of suicide present in a society. In particular, anomic suicide was defined as a suicide committed during a time of social unrest and change, spurred on by anomie. Anomie is defined as the breakdown of social norms in a society. This project applies Durkheim’s theories of suicide and anomie onto the concept of familicide, or the killing of one’s spouse and one or more children. Through the lens of Durkheim’s concept of anomie, this paper defines the idea of anomic familicide, which looks at motives and reasoning for familicide from an anomic perspective. To do this it, it uses a case study of Christopher Coleman, who committed a familicide in 2009 when he killed his wife and two children.