Stalking in the United States: recent national prevalence estimates

Am J Prev Med. 2006 Aug;31(2):172-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2006.03.028.


Background: Stalking is a major public health concern, primarily for women, and is associated with many adverse health outcomes, including death. However, the prevalence of stalking among adults in the United States has not been assessed since 1995-1996. The objective of this analysis is to provide more recent national estimates on lifetime stalking and demographic characteristics of stalking victims.

Methods: A sample of adults aged 18 years and older living in the United States (n = 9684) participated in the second Injury Control and Risk Survey (ICARIS-2), a cross-sectional, random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted from 2001 to 2003. Analyses conducted in 2005 focused on the respondents' reports of having ever been stalked in a way that was somewhat dangerous or life-threatening.

Results: In the United States, 4.5% of adults reported having ever been stalked. Women had significantly higher prevalence (7%) of stalking victimization than did men (2%) (odds ratio [OR] = 3.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.77-4.90). People who were never married (OR = 1.43, 95%CI = 1.03-1.99) or who were separated, widowed, or divorced (OR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.28-2.21) had significantly higher odds of being stalked than those who were married or had a partner. People aged 55 years or older and those who were retired were least likely to report stalking victimization.

Conclusions: Comparable to previous national estimates, this study shows that stalking affects many adults. Nearly 1 in 22 adults (almost 10 million, approximately 80% of whom were women) in the United States were stalked at some time in their lives.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression*
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Social Behavior*
  • United States
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*