The role of relationship phase and stalking myths on perception of stalking

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Martha Ervin (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Intimate partner violence (IPV) myths draw the following conclusions: the victim is blamed, the perpetrator is exonerated, and the situation is minimized (Lonsway, Cortina, & Magley, 2008; Payne, Lonsway, & Fitzgerald, 1999; Peters, 2008). There is evidence that stalking myths mirror these conclusions (Lyndon, Sinclair, & Martin, 2012). This study investigates the affect that relationship phase has on perceptions of stalking situations, as well as the relationship between attitudes and actual judgments of stalking. A total of 299 participants considered stalking behaviors in the context of a randomly assigned relationship phase in an online survey, rating the victim and perpetrator’s responsibility for the action and the seriousness of the behavior. Participants also completed a questionnaire assessing their endorsement of stalking myths. The results revealed that the phase of the relationship did not affect judgments of perpetrator or victim responsibility, or the seriousness of the situation. However, participants’ judgments of the victim and perpetrator’s responsibility and stalking severity were related with their stereotypical attitudes about stalking. Further testing revealed sex differences: men were more likely than women to endorse stalking myths and act upon those attitudes by exonerating the perpetrator and minimizing the situation. The relationship between biased attitudes and judgments of stalking could translate to lack of helping behavior in college students, which is problematic considering the commonality of stalking on college campuses (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2002). Students, especially males, should be the targets of education interventions because their endorsement of stalking myths can have a real effect on stalking victims, perpetrators, and judgments of severity of a stalking situation.

Additional Information

Ervin, Martha. (2015). The role of relationship phase and stalking myths on perception of stalking. Unpublished manuscript, Honors College, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.
Language: English
Date: 2015
Attributions, Gender, Stalking

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