Volume 46, Issue 1 (January 2001)
An Investigation of the Psychological Characteristics of Stalkers: Empathy, Problem-Solving, Attachment and Borderline Personality Features
This study examined the psychological characteristics of a sample of self-reported stalkers in comparison with a control group, on measures of empathy, problem-solving skills, attachment, and borderline personality features. Stalkers were identified by their endorsement of specific behavioral items, consistent with a widely adopted definition of stalking, denoting behaviors that: (a) are repeatedly directed toward an identified target; (b) are intrusive and unwanted; and (c) evoke fear in the victim. Stalkers scored significantly higher than controls on measures of insecure attachment and borderline personality features, suggesting that the stalking group demonstrates a general pattern of inadequate interpersonal attachment, has limited abilities to form and maintain appropriate relationships, is emotionally labile and unstable, and experiences ambivalence regarding their interpersonal relationships. Treatment implications are discussed herein.