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An empirical analysis of stalking as a risk factor in domestic violence

Russell E Palarea, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Research on stalking has evolved. It has grown from analyzing general trends to focusing on specific stalking behaviors perpetrated by different groups. This study analyzed a group of stalkers that are believed to involve higher rates of prevalence and violence among the different types of stalkers: the domestically violent stalker. While accounts of abuse in the relationship, the perpetration of stalking upon the victim leaving the relationship, and the eventual murder of the victim have received increased media exposure, few stalking studies have specifically focused on domestic violence populations. The aim of this study was to fill this void in the stalking literature. Eighty five participants who were referred to a community domestic violence/anger control treatment program were assessed for stalking and abuse within their intimate relationships. Their reported motives for conducting the stalking behaviors varied from apologizing, to showing their love, to intimidating their partner, and to gaining access to property and children. A factor analysis of the stalking behaviors, motives, and associated characteristics revealed a three-factor typology: Apologetic & Hostile, Malicious, and Business-like. A second factor analysis on the stalking and partner abuse behaviors also revealed a three-factor typology: Assaulters, Pursuers, and Coercers. Path analysis between the participant historical variables, partner violence, and stalking behaviors revealed that sexual coercion, psychological aggression, and negotiation tactics were more indicative of the perpetration of stalking behaviors than physical violence against the partner. The findings suggest that rather than considering stalking and domestic violence as different constructs, stalking behaviors may be better conceptualized as an extension of the physical and psychological abuse against the partner, with more severe forms of stalking being used by more severe domestic violence perpetrators. The implications for assessment of violence risk, law enforcement intervention, and legal/policy issues are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Criminology and Penology

Recommended Citation

Palarea, Russell E, "An empirical analysis of stalking as a risk factor in domestic violence" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3147150.