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The influence of contextual information regarding the breakdown of relationships and perpetrator-target sex composition on perceptions of relational stalking

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The present study examines the influence of prior relationship (with contextual information regarding the breakdown of the relationship) and perpetrator-target sex composition on perceptions of relational stalking. The study employed an experimental 7 × 2 independent measures design, and the sample comprised 1,260 members of the community residing in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Participants received one of 14 versions of a hypothetical scenario and responded to scale items concerning the situation described. The situation was perceived to be most serious when the perpetrator was a stranger or a physically violent ex-partner and least serious when the perpetrator was an ex-partner of an unfaithful target. Scenarios involving a male perpetrator and a female victim were also perceived to be more serious than scenarios involving a female perpetrator and a male target. It is apparent therefore that the context of the relationship breakdown and the sex of the perpetrator and target significantly influence perceptions of relational stalking.
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Keywords: Relational stalking; intimate aggression; perceptions; prior relationship; relationship breakdown

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, UK 2: School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK 3: School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Bentley, Australia 4: School of Arts and Humanities, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia

Publication date: April 21, 2019

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