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What mediates psychopathology in stalking victims? The role of individual-vulnerability and stalking-related factors

Rosemary Purcella, Michele Pathé, Gennady N. Baksheev, Andrew MacKinnon & Paul Mullen.

Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology; Available online: 13 Apr 2012

 

Abstract

Stalking victims report significant psychiatric morbidity, which often persists long after the stalking itself has ceased. Elucidating predictors of psychopathology in victims is critical to informing the clinical management of this population. This study examined demographic, individual-vulnerability and stalking-related predictors of general psychopathology and post-traumatic stress in a community sample of victims (n = 236). Regression analyses showed that both general psychopathology and post-traumatic stress were influenced by individual-vulnerability factors, particularly the use of avoidance coping, and stalking-related factors, most notably being subjected to threats. This study provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of factors that mediate psychiatric morbidity among stalking victims, and highlights the utility of clinicians focussing on modifying dynamic risk factors such as maladaptive avoidance behaviours to help alleviate victims' psychological distress.

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