The prevalence of stalking among college students: the disparity between researcher- and self-identified victimization

J Am Coll Health. 2012;60(2):168-74. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2011.584335.


Objective: Researchers examined the prevalence of self-identified and researcher-identified stalking victimization among college students.

Participants and methods: A representative sample of 1,573 (70.1% female; 29.9% male) student respondents completed an online stalking questionnaire.

Results: Overall, 12% self-identified as having been stalked. Additionally, 42.5% (45.4% female; 35.7% male) of students reported experiencing at least 1 behavioral indicator of stalking victimization; however, only 24.7% of those self-identified as being stalked (25.6% female; 22.0% male).

Conclusions: Stalking is a serious problem in the college community. A concern that needs to be addressed is the disparity between the number of those who met the behavioral criteria for stalking victimization, but who did not self-identify as a victim. The consequences of stalking victimization are highlighted. Recommendations for addressing this issue on campus are detailed in a plan that may help improve the retention, progression, and graduation rates for stalking victims.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Safety / standards*
  • Southeastern United States / epidemiology
  • Stalking / epidemiology*
  • Stalking / psychology
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities / standards
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult