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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • stalking;
  • unwanted pursuit;
  • breakup;
  • separation;
  • individual adjustment;
  • initiator;
  • locus of cause;
  • reasons;
  • count data

Abstract:  Former partners comprise the most important subgroup of stalkers. However, contextual factors related to the breakup are hardly examined to explain ex-partner pursuit. In a community sample of 194 separated persons, about one-fifth perpetrated at least one unwanted pursuit behavior in the past 2 weeks. Being female, lowly educated, and socially undesirable raised the number of perpetrated behaviors. Beyond these effects, the number of behaviors increased when the cause of the break was attributed to the ex-partner or external factors and when the ex was appraised as the breakup initiator. Breakup reasons, the ex-partner’s lack in meeting family obligations and own infidelity, also related to pursuit behaviors albeit inferior to subjective attributions and appraisals of initiation. Finally, participants who felt more anxious or lonely negative showed more behaviors. The results enlighten that the breakup context gains further attention. Clinical treatment might benefit from fostering cognitive reconstructions and breakup adjustment.