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Participant gender, stalking myth acceptance, and gender role stereotyping in perceptions of intimate partner stalking: a structural equation modeling approach

Emily Dunlap, Kellie Rose Lynch, Jenna A. Jewell, Nesa Wasarhaley & Jonathan Mark Golding.
Psychology, Crime & Law; Accepted author version posted online: 14 Aug 2014.

Abstract
The present research used a mock juror experiment (N = 360) to assess two primary goals: (1) to examine the direct and indirect effects of participant gender, stalking myth acceptance, and gender role stereotyping on guilt ratings in a stalking trial; and (2) to examine the role of perceived victim fear and distress, and defendant intended danger on perceptions of a stalking trial. Using structural equation modeling, we found an indirect effect of participant gender, and both direct and indirect effects of stalking myth acceptance and gender role stereotyping on guilt ratings. Men and participants who endorsed more traditional gender role stereotypes were associated with adherence to stalking myth acceptance beliefs. Endorsement of particular stalking myth acceptance beliefs offers a partial explanation for why women and men differed on perceptions of the defendant's intent to cause danger and the victim's perceived fear and distress. Results provide insight into the efficacy of current anti-stalking legislation that relies on a juror's capacity to evaluate an “objective” interpretation (i.e., “reasonable person”) standard of fear for intimate partner stalking.

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