Unwanted Pursuit and Stalking Following Intimate Relationship Dissolution
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Research looking at stalking in the context of relationship dissolution looks at a continuum of behaviours that ex-partners engage in, and has found that unwanted pursuit behaviour and stalking are common following relationship break-down. This study sought to replicate these similar high rates, and to further investigate possible reasons as to why people engage in unwanted pursuit behaviour and stalking following the break-down of intimate relationships. 200 participants who met the criteria of having experienced the break-down of a serious, non-marital, intimate, heterosexual relationship within the last three years were recruited from the University of Canterbury. Each participant filled out a questionnaire detailing the type and frequency of behaviour that they engaged in towards their ex-partner, and that their ex-partner engaged in towards them, after their relationship ended. The questionnaire also examined motivations behind these behaviours. In addition, this study looked at the influence of attachment, three domains of self-esteem (global, self-perceived mate value and narcissism) and intense emotions on stalking behaviour. The contribution of investment in the relationship, satisfaction and relationship alternatives were also examined. Findings showed consistencies with previous research with high levels of post-relationship pursuit behaviour reported. In addition, no gender differences were found in reported frequencies of behaviour. Support was also found for a dyadic pattern of stalking behaviour. Predictions regarding the influence of individual difference factors on stalking behaviour were also supported with higher levels of self-stalking associated with higher levels of anxious attachment, lower levels of global self-esteem and self-perceived mate value, higher levels of emotions, and higher levels of investment in the relationship. Novel research on motives for stalking found an association between positive motives and reconciliation behaviours and negative motives and more serious stalking behaviours. Strong support was also found for several mediation models linking anxious attachment and investment, via mediating variables such as emotions and motives, to stalking behaviour.