Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 207-217

First online:

Power and Control Dynamics in Prestalking and Stalking Situations

  • Mary P. BrewsterAffiliated withDepartment of Criminal Justice, West Chester University Email author 

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Power and control have often been addressed in the domestic violence literature (e.g. [Babcock, J. C., Waltz, J., Jacobson, N. S., & Gottman, J. M. (1993). Cassidy, M. A. (1995). Ehrensaft, M. K., Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Heyman, R. E., O'Leary, K. D., & Lawrence, E. (1999). Gondolf, E. W. (1995). Tang, C. S. (1999). Umberson, D. Anderson, K. Glick, J., & Shapiro, A. (1998). This exploratory study adds to the extant literature by examining the role of power and control in stalking situations and in the prior relationship between the stalker and victim. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 187 women stalked by former intimate partners. Content analysis of the interview transcripts revealed the exercise of control financially, psychologically/emotionally, socially, and physically in many of the prior relationships and stalking situations. A greater number of victims reported social and physical control than psychological, financial, and sexual control during the prior relationship. Psychological control during the stalking was reported by nearly all victims, and social control during stalking was reported by over two thirds. Fewer than half of the victims reported physical assault during the stalking, and just over a quarter reported financially controlling behaviors.

stalking power control intimate violence