Examining Stalking Experiences and Outcomes for Men and Women Stalked by (Ex)partners and Non-partners

Abstract

National data suggests that more women meet a stalking definition that includes fear or concern for safety than men. However, less research has focused on how experiences of stalking may differ for men compared to women who were stalked and were afraid or concerned for their safety. This study examined stalker gender, course-of-conduct, threats and safety efficacy, and the association of those factors on stalking-related fear and mental health outcomes for men (n = 218) and women (n = 478) stalked by (ex)partners (n = 285) and non-partners (n = 411) within the past 5 years. Results showed that women had higher stalking-related-fear; but they were also more likely to be targeted by male (ex)partner stalkers than men. Even so, men who were stalked by males had higher stalking-related fear, after controlling for other factors, than men who were stalked by women. Further, (ex)partner stalkers were more threatening, interfering, and assaultive than non-partner stalkers. Safety efficacy, or perceived capability in handling a threatening situation, played a key role in mental health outcomes for both men and women stalking victims. Also, one-third of stalking victims, regardless of stalker type, indicated they also experienced proxy stalking. The study results suggest that characteristics of the stalking situation impacts fear and mental health outcomes, and that assessment and safety planning should consider both features of the stalking experience and safety efficacy of victims. Future research studies need to expand the repertoire of safety planning, and their effectiveness, to better address safety as well as to ameliorate mental health consequences.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Department of Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky for funding this research. Thank you also to Jaime Miller and Jeb Messer for help with the data collection.

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Correspondence to TK Logan.

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Logan, T. Examining Stalking Experiences and Outcomes for Men and Women Stalked by (Ex)partners and Non-partners. J Fam Viol 35, 729–739 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-019-00111-w

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Keywords

  • Partner abuse
  • Stalking
  • Victimization
  • Assessment