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Stalking Victimisation and Substance Use in College Dating Relationships

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction/Background
  2. Rationale
    Method and Design
  3. Discussion and Conclusion


The bulk of research in the field of violence has focused on physical abuse, with very little focus on other forms of violence. Only in the recent year, researchers have started investigating the effects of psychological disorder. But, stalking is an issue which has largely been ignored, the research has delved into stalking victimisation. Not only the prevalence of this issue but as well as psychological effects. Moreover, researchers of this article have looked into the correlation between the psychological effects of stalking victimisation and other aspects of dating violence. Furthermore, a link between stalking victimisation and substance abuse has also been investigated with some positive results. The sample size primarily consists of undergraduate students from both sexes in intimate relationships.

National Institute of Justice has estimated that in the United States alone, more than 1 million women and half a million men experience stalking victimisation every year. The vast majority of stalking victims were stalked by someone known to them, only a tiny minority 23% of women and 36% of men stalked by the strangers. The definition of stalking is comprehensive and can vary greatly, virtually any undesired communication between two individuals that induces the feeling of fear or danger in an individual constitutes stalking. Identifying stalkers has proved to be very difficult since they do not have any particular profile to be noticed. Most stalkers have some form of previous association with their victims and most likely a romantic association. In typical stalking victimisation case, stalker makes an unwanted contact, and after being discouraged, the situation can escalate to violence. A study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics classified the victims of stalking by four distinct variables. Firstly, age was an essential factor and had a direct co-relation with stalking. The individuals from 18-25 year of age are at highest risk of falling victim to stalking, while with increasing age stalking chances reduces. Secondly, race and ethnicity were also investigated, and it was found that individual of mixed-race and whites are at the highest risks of experiencing individuals (Villacampa, 2017). At the same time, Asians are least likely to be victims of stalking. Thirdly, the marital was also researched, and it was concluded that divorced and separated individuals are at a higher risk of stalking, while married and widowed persons are least likely to experience stalking (Stermac, 2018). Lastly, income was also looked into, and an inverse correlation was found, people with higher income were least likely to be victimised while people residing in low-income neighbourhoods and households are at the highest risk of being victimised.

While plotting the profile of perpetrators almost similar four characteristics, in addition to two more, were looked into. First of all, the stalker is highly likely to target victims from the same age bracket (Scott, 2019). At the same time, a similar co-relation was discovered among the racial line. Most perpetrators of African-American race targeted predominantly black victim, and this pattern was repeated with white perpetrators and victims. Unlike other crimes, where victim and perpetrators come into direct contact, a considerable number of stalking victims were not able to identify the genders of perpetrators (Raj, 2017).

In comparison, the majority of the victims reported being stalked by the person from the opposite gender. Finally, investigating the relationship between perpetrators and victims, 75% of the victims identified their perpetrators most commonly as previous intimate partners, acquaintance and friends (Korkodeilou, 2020). While other parameters such as work status and criminal background have no significant impact regarding the profile of perpetrators, with illegal education and employment were equal in numbers to stalkers with the clean background with law enforcement and inactive status.


The article presented arguments highlighting the seriousness of the issues, with particular emphasis on the lack of literature written on stalking victimisation and, especially, focusing on substance abuse with a study sample consisting of college undergraduates. The article cited some studies indicating a higher rate of dating violence among college student. Hence, researchers inquired about the severity of stalking victimisation in colleges.

The article missed several critical classifications to narrow down their sample size. Although fundamentally, the rationale was not incorrect but dividing or at least exploring the victims and perpetrators according to various variables such as age, race, income group was ignored (DeKeseredy, 2017). The classification was crucial to profile the perpetrators and help to stalk victims identify dangerous individuals. Moreover, the published literature indicates that people of the same race and age are most likely to be perpetrators and victims; this conclusion would have narrowed down the list of perpetrators stalking college students (Ferreira, 2018). The arguments presented by the article does not hold the serious scholarship, especially, trying to locate the co-relation between stalking and substance abuse. The relevant literature was not cited, and enough necessary research was not conducted to establish nay credible co-relations. While the research on the broader topic of ‘stalking victimisation’ was somewhat justified, even though very few statistics were cited, and sample group, college students, was also interesting to look into. But substance abuse proved very difficult to be link- up with stalking victimisation either a characteristic of the perpetrator or a side-effect of being victimised. Modern literature identified the various impacts of stalking on victims, including emotional, financial and work-related impact. But no evidence of a direct or indirect relationship between stalking victimisation and substance abuse was uncovered.

The impacts of stalking victimisation include emotional agony. Majority of the victims feared for their lives, with primary drivers being uncertainty and the fear of unknown. In contrast, few victims are worried regarding the normalisation of the situation at hand (Cheyne, 2018). Work-related effects of stalking were more objective, where victims lost time from work to make an arrangement such as changing phone numbers, obtaining restraining orders etc. and hence, endured unnecessary stress. Similarly, the financial impact was registered, in the form of legal fees, changing residence and so on. The financial cost ranged between 250 to $1000. Moreover, loses at earning were also incurred due to dislocated work hours (Salat, 2019).

The research question(s) are not very well-drafted and are difficult to deduce. For instance, at some point indicating the purpose of this study to find the extent of stalking victimisation among college graduates while a few cases, researchers unsuccessfully tried to this up to alcohol and drug abuse. In a few instances, a co-relation seems to be developing between physical violence and substance abuse. However, no question related to physically aggressive behaviour was added in the questionnaire, further disturbing the unity and logical flow of the article.

Method and Design

For data collection, a survey method is selected, and a questionnaire was used to collect data in quantitative form by allotting the registering the numbers of times any particular event of stalking occurred (Scott, 2019). Based on these numbers, a score is calculated, the higher the score the most victimised individual is and for this sample average came around at 70. While to record physical violence, a similar scale was used with variation in the parameters, and standard came around at 68. To measure the alcohol use, Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) was used, which taught the frequency and intensity of alcohol consumption, where a higher score meant higher consumption of alcohol. And a similar test named “Drug Use Disorder Identification Test” (DUDIT) was used.

An advantage of this methodology was the quantitative collection of data, which allowed the data collection from a larger sample, objectively. On the contrary, among the questions, few are related to gossip and rumours (Dairo, 2018). Furthermore, an open-ended definition of stalking was given. Thus, leaving it up to the interpretation of responders. Also, the gender representation was disproportionate for every man participating in the survey; four women were participating. Similar was the case of race, where overwhelming respondents were white Caucasians. As a result, this survey would fail to portray an accurate picture of the general population.

One of the fundamental flaws was in the selection of the sample. College undergraduates are most likely to have a conception of alcohol and drug use than the general population. Whereas a study by Matos, indicated that college student consumes 2.5 times more alcohol than average (2019). At the same time, another survey by Stermac reported that more than 40% of the college student met the criteria of alcohol and drug abuse (2018). Hence, it was only natural to have a higher level of drug and alcohol score. Such factors could have been taken into account by comparing the alcohol and drug abuse scores of victims of stalking and other college students. But, without any such comparison, it is extremely unreliable to consider the alcohol and drug consumption of college students and relate it to stalking victimisation. Another, techniques to mitigate this factor could have been comparing the alcohol and drug consumption of victims before and during the period of stalking victimisation. Hence, the whole premise of this research could have been flawed.

Emphasis on physical violence was beyond, the scope of the research, especially when physical was not the result of stalking. Physical abuse is a separate form of violence, while stalking is related to a psychological disorder. Hence, investigating the physical violence, that has not emerged out of stalking, and its effects on substance abuse were out of the scope of this study. Therefore, it is highly likely that it has created discrepancies in the overall findings (Villacampa, 2017).


Interestingly, all responders of the survey provided complete data, and no parameters were found missing. Moreover, the correlation between gender and stalking victimisation was discovered. For males, a positive relationship was found between drug and alcohol use, while an inverse relation was established between age and substance abuse. While for female, a definite positive co-relation was established between stalking physical aggression and substance abuse. Furthermore, another positive co-relation was developed among women were between stalking victimisation and the period of the relationship. At the same time, a negative correlation was found between the span of relationship and alcohol consumption. The other significant distinction between genders were increased intensity and frequency of substance abuse among men them women, whereas other parameters described no significant differences.

The finding displayed a clear relationship between physical aggression and span of an intimate relationship. While, a similar trend was observed for stalking victimisation, where alcohol abuse was increased. In comparison, the last model depicted the variation of gender created among stalking victimisation and alcohol abuse. The analysis does not seem enough to justify the aims of this research since a lot of factors were excluded from the study, such as other emotional impacts, financial impacts and the lifestyle of respondents (Ferreira, 2018). Furthermore, the sample size presented a sewed picture of the population, while a comparative analysis would have been sufficient to calibrate the data show an accurate description. It the respondent was already consuming more than the appropriate amount of alcohol as drugs, which is probably among college students. The alcohol consumption would have given incorrect data. Hence, a comparative analysis is required to justify the aims of this research ultimately (Ferreira, 2018). At the same time, data regarding physical violence was added and distorted the findings in favour of reaching the goals. Contrary to the aims of the study, analysing stalking victimisation, physical abuse and aggression were unnecessarily analysed.

Mostly, statements regarding findings are justified with current data. Since the fallacy was in the sample selection and the methodology, other than that, ignoring these errors data confirms the hypothesis. With a few assumptions, this data can fully justify the finding and confirm the interpretation of this study. Firstly, assuming that participants were consuming less than average substances (alcohol and drugs) before commencing relationship and subsequent stalking victimisation. Secondly, considering the physical violence was the escalation of stalking. Hence, its effects on substance abuse are relevant to the study. Thirdly, assuming that the sample of college students are the precise representation of the general population in terms of alcohol consumption, lifestyle, socio-economic background, gender and racial diversity. With this assumption, the data presents accurate finding; thus, confirm the hypothesis and fulfilling the aim of this research.

Discussion and Conclusion

The theoretical and practical implication was not examined by authors comprehensively. Although, brief direction for future research was given, regarding investigating the psychological aspects of stalking victimisation and the role coping mechanism. Furthermore, the investigation into a co-relation between other health problems such as depression, anxiety and stalking victimisation was also given. But regarding practical implication, no examination was made. The possible effect could include consulting a psychiatrist when going through stalking victimisation. Creating public awareness to look for the victims of stalking by monitoring the habits of alcohol consumption and drug abuse. Hence, the intervention can be made at a much early stage, and required help can be provided. Moreover, a new program can be initiated to help the victims of stalking that mainly caters to stalking victimisation. The current plans are geared towards helping victims of physical aggression and are unlikely to be helpful with victims of stalking.

The author has identified several limitations, evident among them was lack of consensus on the definition of stalking and selection of the model to analyse this complex issue. Secondly, it was rightly recognised that the sample size was not the accurate representation of the general population. Thirdly, the effects of stalking victimisation on drug and alcohol abuse were not astronomically high, especially variation into drug consumption was reasonably limited, might be due to the wide variety of personal drugs available. Hence, the need to further delve into the effects of stalking victimisation is required. Another limitation of this study was not calibrating the consumption data with the average consumption of alcohol and drugs among college students. This could also have achieved by comparing it with the regular use of the general population and taking it into account, which the author also missed this limitation (Dairo, 2018).

The proved increment in drugs and alcohol consumption could have been the natural average of college students, higher than the general public. Furthermore, increased substance abuse due to physical violence from dating partners could have been caused by reasons other than the escalation of stalking. Thus, it ended up driving the data of substance abuse higher and co-relating it with stalking victimisation. The researchers have suggested almost all the possible future recommendation, with regards to future research. On the practical aspect, a pilot program could be conducted dedicated towards helping the victims of stalking victimisation. Although, the program would provide the necessary integrity of the finding and will help the psychologist to write the textbooks regarding intervention needed to help victims of stalking.

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Stalking Victimisation And Substance Use In College Dating Relationships. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
“Stalking Victimisation And Substance Use In College Dating Relationships.” GradesFixer, 25 Oct. 2021,
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