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Stalking: Patterns, Motives, and Intervention Strategies

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 17 Issue: 6 Dated: November/December 2012 Pages: 495-506
Laurence Miller
Date Published
December 2012
12 pages
This article examines stalking and discusses at which point harassment turns into an act of criminal aggression.
Stalking is generally defined as an intentional pattern of repeated intrusive and intimidating behaviors toward a specific person that causes the target to feel harassed, threatened, and fearful, or that a reasonable person would regard as being so. Motivations for stalking include a delusional belief in romantic destiny, a desire to reclaim a prior relationship, a sadistic urge to torment the victim, or a psychotic overidentification with the victim and the desire to replace him or her. Stalkers may carry a variety of diagnostic labels, including psychotic disorders, delusional disorders, or cluster-B personality disorders, and are generally refractive to conventional psychological treatments. Risk factors for violence in a stalking scenario include a prior intimate relationship, the stalker's feeling of being rejected or humiliated, and generic risk factors for violence such as low educational level and substance abuse. Cyberstalking can be as distressing, if not more so, to victims as physical stalking due to the concealment and anonymity afforded by electronic communication. Victims may adopt varying strategies for dealing with stalkers, such as avoiding, confronting, seeking third party assistance, and accessing the legal system. Threat management specialists have offered certain recommendations that can make it easier for a victim to deter and discourage a stalker. (Published Abstract)


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