American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 373–388 | Cite as

I’m Watching You: Cyberstalking Behaviors of University Students in Romantic Relationships

  • Catherine D. Marcum
  • George E. Higgins
  • Jason Nicholson
Article

Abstract

As technology has become an ever-present facet in the lives of young people, they have become reliant on it to form and maintain relationships. It has also helped facilitate negative relationship behaviors, such as the monitoring of romantic partners without their permission (aka cyberstalking). The purpose of this study is to investigate theoretical predictors of cyberstalking in a sample of university students by applying General Theory of Crime and Social Learning Theory. Results indicated that low selfcontrol and deviant peer association are significant predictors of cyberstalking, specifically attempting to log-in to a person’s social media, as well as social media presence and sex.

Keywords

Cyberstalking Internet Victimization Relationships 

References

  1. Akers, R. L. (1998). Social learning and social structure: A general theory of crime and deviance. Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Baum, K., Catalano, S., Rand, M., & Rose, K. (2009). Stalking victimization in the United States. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice. Retrived from http://www.victimsofcrime.org/docs/src/baum-k-catalano-s-rand-m-rose-k-2009.pdf?sfvrsn=0.Google Scholar
  3. Bennet, D., Guran, E., Ramos, M., & Margolin, G. (2011). College students’ electronic vitimization in friendships and dating relationships: Anticipated distress and associations with risky behaviors. Violence and Victims, 4, 410–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blais, J., Craig, W., Pepler, D., & Connolly, J. (2008). Adolescents online: The importance of internet activity choices to salient relationships. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(5), 522–536. doi:10.1007/s10964-007-9262-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bocij, P., & McFarlane, L. (2003). Cyberstalking: The technology of hate. The Police Journal, 76, 204–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Borrajo, E., Gamez-Guadix, M., Prereda, N., & Calvete, E. (2015). The development and validation of the cyber dating abuse questionnaire among young couples. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 358–365. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.01.063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bossler, A. M., & Holt, T. J. (2010). The effect of self-control on victimization in the cyberworld. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38, 227–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bossler, A. M., & Burruss, G. W. (2011). The general theory of crime and computer hacking: Low self-control hackers? In T. J. Holt & B. H. Schell (Eds.), Corporate hacking and technology-driven crime: Social dynamics and implications (pp. 38–67). Hershey: IGI Global.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bossler, A., Holt, T., & May, D. (2012). Predicting online harassment victmization among a juvenile population. Youth & Society, 44(4), 500–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burke, S. C., Wallen, M., Vail-Smith, K., & Knox, D. (2011). Using technology to control intimate partners: an exploratory study of college undergraduates. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1162–1167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carpenter, C., & Spottswood, E. (2013). Exploring romantic relationships on social networking sites using the self-expansion model. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 1531–1537. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.01.021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Caughlin, J., & Sharabi, L. (2013). A communicative interdependence perspective of close relationships: The connections between mediated and unmediated interactions matter. Journal of Communication, 63(5), 873–893.Google Scholar
  13. Chapple, C. L. (2005). Self-control, peer relations, and delinquency. Justice Quarterly, 22, 89–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chaulk, K., & Jones, T. (2011). Online obsessive relational intrusion: Further concerns about Facebook. Journal of Family Violence, 26, 245–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. (2016). Stalking. Retrieved from http://www.caepv.org/getinfo/facts_stats.php?factsec=9.
  16. Cox, C. (2014). Protecting victims of cyberstalking, cyberharassment, and online impersonation through prosecutions and effective laws. The Journal of Law, Science & Technology, 54(3), 277–302.Google Scholar
  17. Dillman, D. (2007). Mail and internet surveys: A tailored design method. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  18. Dreßing, H., Bailer, J., Anders, A., Wagner, H., & Gallas, C. (2014). Cyberstalking in a large sample of social network users: Prevalence, characteristics, and impact upon victims. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 17(2), 61–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Duggan, M. (2015). Mobile messaging and social media 2015. PewResearchCenter: Internet, Science, & Tech. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/mobile-messaging-and-social-media-2015/.
  20. Elphinston, R., & Noller, P. (2011). Time to face it! Facebook intrusion and implication for romantic jealousy and relationship satisfaction. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 17, 3–7.Google Scholar
  21. Facebook (2016). Facebook Newsroom. Retrieved from http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/.
  22. Fisher, B. S., Cullen, F. T., & Turner, M. G. (2002). Being pursued: Stalking victimization in a national study of college women. Criminology & Public Policy, 1(2), 257–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fox, J., & Warber, K. (2013). Romantic relationship development in the age of Facebook: An exploratory study of emerging adults’ perceptions, motives, and behavior. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 16, 3–7. doi:10.10189/cyber.2012.0288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gibbs, J. J., & Giever, D. (1995). Self-control and its manifestations among university students: An empirical test of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory. Justice Quarterly, 12(2), 231–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gibbs, J. J., Giever, D., & Higgins, G. E. (2003). A test of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory using structural equation modeling. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 30(4), 441–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gibbs, J. J., Giever, D., & Martin, J. S. (1998). Parental-management and self-control: An empirical test of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 35(1), 42–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Grasmick, H. G., Tittle, C. R., Bursik Jr., R. J., & Arneklev, B. J. (1993). Testing the core empirical implications of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 30(1), 5–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Higgins, G. E., Fell, B. D., & Wilson, A. L. (2007). Low self-control and social learning in understanding students’ intentions to pirate movies in the United States. Social Science Computer Review, 25, 339–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Higgins, G., & Marcum, C. D. (2011). Digital piracy: An integrated theoretical approach. Durham: Carolina Academic Press.Google Scholar
  31. Higgins, G. E., Wolfe, S. E., & Marcum, C. D. (2008). Digital piracy: An examination of three measurements of self-control. Deviant Behavior, 29, 440–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hinduja, S., & Ingram, J. R. (2008). Self-control and ethical beliefs on the social learning of intellectual property theft. Western Criminology Review, 9, 52–72.Google Scholar
  33. Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. (2011). Electronic dating violence: A brief for educators and parents. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.cyberbullying.us/.
  34. Hirschi, T. (2004). Self-control and crime. In R. F. Baumeister & K. D. Vohs (Eds.), Handbook of selfregulation: Research, theory and applications. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  35. Holt, T. J., & Bossler, A. M. (2009). Examining the applicability of lifestyle-routine activities theory for cybercrime victimization. Deviant Behavior, 30, 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jennings, W. G., Higgins, G. E., Akers, R. L., Khey, D. N., & DoBrow, J. (2013). Examining the influence of delinquent peer associations on the stability of self-control in late childhood and early adolescence. Deviant Behavior, 34, 407–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kellerman, I., Margolin, G., Borofsky, L., Baucom, B., & Iturralde, E. (2013). Electronic aggression among emerging adults: Motivations and contextual factors. Emerging Adulthood, 1(4), 293–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kubrin, C. E., Stucky, T. D., & Krohn, M. D. (2009). Researching theories of crime and deviance. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Longshore, D., Chang, E., Hsieh, S., & Messina, N. (2004). Self-control and social bonds: A combined control perspective on deviance. Crime & Delinquency, 50, 542–564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lyndon, A., Bonds-Raacke, J., & Cratty, A. (2011). College students’ Facebook stalking of ex-partners. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 13, 263–268.Google Scholar
  41. Marcum, C. D., Higgins, G. E., & Poff, B. A. (2016). Exploratory investigation on theoretical predictors of the electronic leash. Computers in Human Behavior. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.03.010.Google Scholar
  42. Marcum, C. D., Higgins, G. E., & Ricketts, M. L. (2014b). Sexting behaviors among adolescents in rural North Carolina: A theoretical examination of low self-control and deviant peer association. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 8(2), 68–78.Google Scholar
  43. Marcum, C., Higgins, G., Wolfe, S., & Ricketts, M. (2014a). Becoming someone new: Identity theft behaviors by high school students. Journal of Financial Crime, 22(3), 318–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Marshall, T. (2012). Facebook surveillance of former romantic partners: Associations with post breakup recovery and personal growth. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 15, 521–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. National Conference of State Legislatures. (2012a). Cyberbullying. Retrieved June 19, 2012, from http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/educ/cyberbullying.aspx.
  46. National Conference of State Legislatures. (2012b). State Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment Laws. Retrieved June 19, 2012 from http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/telecom/cyberstalking-and-cyberharassment-laws.aspx.
  47. Papacharissi, Z. (2011). A networked self: Identity, community, and culture on social network sites. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  48. Papp, L., Danielewicz, J., & Cayemberg, C. (2013). Are we Facebook official? Implications of dating partners’ Facebook use and profiles for intimates relationships satisfaction. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 15, 85–90. doi:10.10189/cyber.2011.0291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Perrin, A. (2015a). Social media usage: 2005–2015. PewResearchCenter: Internet, Science & Tech. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/.
  50. Perrin, A. (2015b). Social media usage: 2005–2015. PewResearchCenter: Internet, Science & Tech. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/.
  51. PEW. (2013). Teens and Technology 2012. Report of the PEW Research Internet ‘Project. Retrieved from www.pewinternet.org/2013/03/13/teens-and-technology-2013.
  52. Pratt, T. C., & Cullen, F. T. (2000). The empirical status of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime: a meta-analysis. Criminology, 38(3), 931–964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Reyns, B. W., Henson, B., & Fisher, B. S. (2012). Stalking in the twilight zone: Extent of cyberstalking victimization and offending among college students. Deviant Behavior, 33(1), 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sheridan, L. P., & Grant, T. (2007). Is cyberstalking different? Psychology, Crime & Law, 13(6), 627–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Shimizu, A. (2013). Domestic violence in the digital age: Towards the creation of a comprehensive cyberstalking statute. Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, 28(1), 116–137.Google Scholar
  56. Shorey, R. C., Stuart, G. L., & Cornelius, T. L. (2011). Dating violence and substance use in college students: a review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 16(6), 541–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Shorey, R., Sherman, A., Kivisto, A., Elkins, S., Rhatigan, D., & Moore, T. (2011). Gender differences in depression and anxiety among victims of initmate partner violence: the moderating effect of shame-proneness. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26, 1834–1850. doi:10.1177/0886260510372949.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sutherland, E. (1939). Priniciples of criminology (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott.Google Scholar
  59. Tibbets, S. G. (2012). Criminological theory: The essentials. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  60. Tokunaga, R., & Gustafson, A. (2014). Seeking interpersonal information over the Internet: An application of the theory of motivated information management to internet use. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31, 1019–1039.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Torres, C., Robles, J., & DeMarco, S. (2013). El ciberacoso como format de ejercer la violencia de genero en la juventud. Un riesgo en la sociedad de la informacion y el conocimiento. Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad 10.Google Scholar
  62. Trepte, S., & Reinecke, L. (2013). The reciprocal effects of social network site use and the disposition for self-disclosure: A longitudinal study. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 1102–1112. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.10.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wolfe, S. E., & Higgins, G. E. (2009). Explaining deviant peer associations: an examination of low self-control, ethical predispositions, definitions, and digital piracy. Western Criminology Review, 10(1), 43–55.Google Scholar
  64. Zweig, J., Dank, M., Yahner, J., & Lachman, P. (2013). The rate of cyber dating abuse among teens and how it relates to other forms of teen dating violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 1–15.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine D. Marcum
    • 1
  • George E. Higgins
    • 2
  • Jason Nicholson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Government and Justice StudiesAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  2. 2.Department of Administration of JusticeUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations