Volume 45, Issue 1 (January 2000)
A Replication Study of Obsessional Followers and Offenders with Mental Disorders
The purpose of this study was to compare certain demographic, clinical, and criminal variables within subgroups of obsessional followers, and compare them to a group of offenders with mental disorders to attempt to replicate earlier findings. A static group archival design utilized a non-random group of convenience and a randomly selected comparison group. Sixty-five obsessional followers and 65 offenders with mental disorders were evaluated by psychiatrists and psychologists for court ordered reasons during their criminal proceedings. Both groups were evaluated during the same period, in the same court diagnostic clinic, and generally for sentencing determinations. The obsessional followers were measured on demographic, diagnostic, pursuit, victim, threat, violence, emotional, motivational, and defense variables. Inferential comparisons that used parametric and nonparametric statistics were done within and between groups on select variables. The obsessional followers had significantly greater estimated IQ than the offenders with mental disorders, but were neither older nor better educated. There were no significant differences in the high prevalence of both DSM-IV Axis I and II diagnoses. Obsessional followers who stalked prior sexual intimates were significantly more likely to have a substance abuse or dependence diagnosis. Obsessional followers who stalked strangers or acquaintances were more likely to be delusional. The majority of the obsessional followers, primarily motivated by anger, both threatened and were violent toward person or property. The modal obsessional follower is an average or above IQ, unemployed, unmarried male in his fourth decade of life, chronically pursuing a prior sexually intimate female. He is diagnosed with substance abuse or dependence and a personality disorder NOS, and has a prior psychiatric, criminal, and substance abuse history. He is angry, likely to threaten her, and assault her person or property without causing serious injury.