Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Stalking Victimization among Italian University Students

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Stalking Victimization among Italian University Students

Article excerpt

Stalking has been studied by different discipline that contributed to describe the phenomenon from the legal, social, psychological and psychiatric viewpoints (Sheridan & Davies, 2001). Some authors describe stalking as a form of intimate violence (Coleman, 1997; Douglas & Dutton, 2001; Kurt, 1995), Pathè and Mullen (1997) describe stalking as a constellation of behaviors in which a person (stalker) inflicts on another (stalking victim) repeated unwanted intrusions and/or communications. Others, such as Meloy (1998), define it as an ongoing conduct in which a person behaviorally intrudes upon another's life in a manner perceived to be threatening. According to Sheridan and Davies (2001), stalking phenomenon is characterized by worst feeling perceived by the victim caused by the repetition of unwanted attention: those persistent behaviors make the difference to other forms of violence in workplace and/or in private life.

First stalking investigations were conducted in variety of countiy involving large part of population, with different method. An epidemiological study was conducted in Australia (Mullen & Pathè, 2002), 6300 women were involved in a random nationwide survey on physical and sexual violence. The interviews (face to face or via telephone) contained specific questions about stalking. In 2002 Mullen and Pathè extended the investigation to 3700 participants (men and women). In USA, a telephone survey involved 8000 women and 8000 men (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998). In Great Britain 9988 participants were involved in a computerized selfcompletion questionnaire (Budd & Mattinson, 2000), in Germany 679 participants were involved in a postal survey (Dressing, Kuehner & Gass, 2005). This investigation was replicated by Stieger, Burger and Schild (2008) in Austria. About the results Tjaden and Thoennes (1998) reported that 8.1% of women and 2.2% of men has been stalked, Budd and Mattinson (2000) noted that in the UK 11.8% of adults aged 16-59 had been victim of stalking on at least one occasion since the age of 16, with 2.9% of the sample reporting a stalking experience in the last year. Purcell et al (2002) observed major incidences in Australia: 15% of women in the first survey described their experience as victims of stalking, 20% of women and 7% of men in the second survey. In Germany and Austria, about 11.6% of adults had been stalked.

Some studies underline higher rates among college-aged women than that of the general population of women (Jordan, Wilcox and Pritchard, 2007). Tjaden and Thoennes (1998) i.e reported that 52% of stalking victims in USA Survey were eighteen to twenty-nine years of age. In literature analysis documenting the psychological, sexual and physical assault in universities (e.g. Pipes & Lebov-Keeler, 1997; Fischer, Cullen & Turner, 2000; Leonard, Quingley & Collins, 2002) stalking has been investigated as a phenomenon with great incidence among college students. Among this sample the prevalence of stalking vaiy from 6% to 27% (Jordan, Wilcox & Pritchard, 2007): the difference is due to the lack of standardization in samples, stalker typology, time frames, participants (i.e. only women or men and women), presence in the countiy of a specific law. Above all, the different methodology used (i.e. questionnaire or interviews, self-reported or via telephone) and the different definition of phenomenon (i.e. one or more types of harassment that provoke fear and/or anger feeling, and/or threat for victim safety) don't permit to compare data emerging from literature.

Despite this limitation, these investigations are veiy interesting to understand the phenomenon among University Students. Fisher, Cullen and Turner (2000) reported the results from the National Institute of Justice Survey, in USA: 15.6% of women college students (in a sample of 4446) were victims of stalking. In the same year Logan, Leukefeld and Walker published the findings of a survey on undergraduate students, 27% of the 130 participants has been stalked. …

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