Factors associated with violence in stalking and obsessional harassment

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Differentiating which stalkers represent a significant risk of violence from those who pose less risk has significant implications for victims, clinicians, and the legal system. The authors analyzed 204 stalking and harassment cases referred for court-ordered mental health evaluation in New York City between 1994 and 1998 to identify correlates of violent behavior. Violence, defined as any unwanted physical contact or confrontation with a weapon, occurred in 34% of cases, although severe violence occurred in only 12 cases. A multivariate logistic regression analysis containing five variables (age below 30, less than high school education, minority race, prior threats, and previous intimate relationship between victim and offender) was applied to an ROC analysis, yielding an area under the curve of .803. The implications of these data for risk assessment in stalking and harassment are discussed.

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