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Comparative Study of Psychotic and Nonpsychotic Stalking

NCJ Number
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Volume: 25 Issue: 3 Dated: (1997) Pages: 317-334
K K Kienlen; D L Birmingham; K B Solberg; J T O'Regan; J R Meloy
Date Published
18 pages
This article reports on a comparative analysis of psychotic versus nonpsychotic stalking.
The study examined archival files of 25 forensic subjects whose alleged criminal offenses met a legal definition of stalking behavior. The files were studied for demographic characteristics, stalking dynamics, psychosocial history, and current psychological variables. The nonpsychotic subjects' pursuit of victims was influenced by various psychological factors, including anger and hostility, projection of blame, obsession, dependency, minimization and denial and jealousy. They made more verbal threats and "acted out" violently more often. Psychotic subjects visited the victims' homes significantly more often than nonpsychotic subjects. While all subjects exhibited some similarities in stalking behaviors and demographic variables, including childhood attachment disruptions, no single profile of a stalker emerged. Findings provide information about factors contributing to stalking violence, as well as diagnostic issues that should be considered in the assessment and treatment of this criminal population. Note, tables, references