Prevalence rates, reporting, and psychosocial correlates of stalking victimization: results from a three-sample cross-sectional study

Abstract

Purpose

Public health and criminal justice stalking victimization data collection efforts are plagued by subjective definitions and lack of known psychosocial correlates. The present study assesses the question of stalking victimization prevalence among three groups. Psychosocial risk and protective factors associated with stalking victimization experiences were assessed.

Methods

Archival data (n = 2159) were drawn from a three-sample (i.e., U.S. nationwide sexual diversity special interest group, college student, and general population adult) cross-sectional survey of victimization, sexuality, and health.

Results

The range of endorsement of stalking-related victimization experiences was 13.0–47.9%. Reported perpetrators were both commonly known and unknown persons to the victim. Participants disclosed the victimization primarily to nobody or a family member/friend. Bivariate correlates of stalking victimization were female gender, Associates/Bachelor-level education, bisexual or other sexual orientation minority status, hypertension, diabetes, older age, higher weekly drug use, elevated trait aggression, higher cognitive reappraisal skills, lower rape myth acceptance, and elevated psychiatric symptoms. Logistic regression results showed the strongest factors in identifying elevated stalking victimization risk were: older age, elevated aggression, higher cognitive reappraisal skills, lesser low self-control, increased symptoms of suicidality and PTSD re-experiencing, and female and other gender minority status.

Conclusions

Behavioral approaches to epidemiological and criminal justice stalking victimization are recommended. Victimization under reporting to healthcare and legal professionals were observed. Further research and prevention programming is needed to capitalize on data concerning personality and coping skills, sexual diversity, and trauma-related psychiatric symptoms.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the SPPE editorial staff and anonymous peer-reviewers for their valuable insights.

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Correspondence to Matt R. Nobles.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by two University ethics committees and has, therefore, been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All participants gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.

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Nobles, M.R., Cramer, R.J., Zottola, S.A. et al. Prevalence rates, reporting, and psychosocial correlates of stalking victimization: results from a three-sample cross-sectional study. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 53, 1253–1263 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-018-1557-3

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Keywords

  • Stalking
  • Victimization
  • Mental health
  • LGBTQ
  • BDSM
  • Personality