Victims of Stalking Can Have High Levels of Psychological Distress Later in Life

washington-and-lee-universityA new study led by researchers at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, has found that women who have been victims of stalking are two to three times more likely to suffer from psychological distress than other women. The data on more than 8,100 women found that 7.7 percent of all women had been stalked by age 45.

The study found that women who were stalked between the age of 18 and 22, but who were never sexually assaulted, were 113 percent more likely than women who had never been stalked to suffer from psychological distress. Women who were stalked between the ages of 23 and 29, were 265 percent more likely to suffer from psychological distress. The authors report that this level of distress is similar to women in that age group who were sexually assaulted. Older women who were stalked between the ages of 30 and 45, were 138 percent more likely to experience psychological distress.

Timothy Diette, associate professor of economics at Washington and Lee University, who is the lead author of the study, stated, “I think the major implication of our findings is that while not everyone takes stalking seriously because in most cases nothing physical happened, the detrimental impact is clear. In many cases, it’s a really scarring event that causes real-life psychological outcomes for victims’ mental health and their ability to function in society.”

The article, “Stalking: Does It Leave a Psychological Imprint?” was published on the website of the Social Science Quarterly. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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