The dangerous nature of intimate relationship stalking: threats, violence, and associated risk factors

Behav Sci Law. 1999;17(3):269-83. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-0798(199907/09)17:3<269::aid-bsl346>;2-6.


Although previous studies of forensic and law enforcement stalking populations (Harmon, Rosner, & Owens, 1995; Meloy & Gothard, 1995; Zona, Sharma, & Lane, 1993) agree that the degree of intimacy of the victim-suspect relationship is an important factor in stalking cases, they have not conducted in-depth analyses of this variable. This study compared 223 intimate (n=135) and non-intimate (n=88) stalking cases managed by the Los Angeles Police Department's Threat Management Unit. A path analysis revealed a significant relationship between the stalkers' intimate versus non-intimate status and violence committed toward persons and property. This relationship was positively influenced by the suspect's level of proximity to the victim and threats toward the victim and property, but not influenced by suspect's criminal, psychiatric, and domestic violence histories. Overall, intimate relationship stalkers used more dangerous stalking behaviors than non-intimate relationship stalkers. Risk factors for assessing dangerousness of stalkers are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Crime / psychology*
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Dangerous Behavior*
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Harassment / psychology
  • Sexual Partners* / psychology
  • Violence / psychology