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Stalking: Does it Leave a Psychological Footprint?

Authors


  • Programming for coding variables and replication purposes will be provided upon request. Information for the process of applying for access to the restricted data will also be provided. The authors would like to thank participants at the Southern Economic Association Meetings and Oleksandr Zhylyevskyy for their comments. Diette and Goldsmith wish to acknowledge the Lenfest Summer Research Summer Grant and McFarland thanks the R. E. Lee Summer Research Scholars Program for research support.

Abstract

Objectives

This article offers new evidence on whether stalking damages the mental health of female victims. This study advances the literature by accounting for age of initial stalking victimization, mental health status prior to being stalked, and exposure to other forms of traumatic victimization.

Methods

Using logistical analysis, we utilize data drawn from three large national data sets.

Results

We find that being the victim of stalking as a young adult, ages 18–45, significantly increases the odds of initial onset of psychological distress; however, this is not the case for victims ages 12–17.

Conclusions

Stalking has emerged as a deeply disturbing public issue because of its prevalence and the fear it creates in victims. Unfortunately, little is known about the psychological consequences of being stalked because the emerging literature typically is based on small, nonrandom samples. Our findings highlight the benefits of reducing stalking and the importance of supporting victims.

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