Cyberstalking vs. “Traditional” Stalking


Victims of cyberstalking take more self-protective measures, pay higher out of pocket costs to combat the problem and experience far greater fear over time than traditional stalking victims, says Matt Nobles of Sam Houston University (Nobles, 2013).

That fact, notes Nobles, is just one thing we need to know about stalking.

Working with Bradford Reyns of Weber State University, Kathleen Fox of Arizona State University, and Bonnie Fisher of the University of Cincinnati, Nobles explored the similarities and differences in the experiences reported by victims of stalking and cyberstalking.

Cyberstalking, for the purposes of the study, was defined as, “repeated harassment or threats facilitated by technology, including electronic communication using the internet, email and social media.”

What Nobles and his team found was that while victims of stalking and cyberstalking use many similar forms of self-protection, cyberstalking results in more time off work, increased risk of leaving a job or school, avoiding friends and relatives, and changing email and social media identities (Nobles et al., 2013).

Cyberstalking also results in higher costs – often felt in moving expenses, changing phone numbers – compared to traditional stalking victims (Nobles et al., 2013).

Moreover, cyberstalking caused victims to feel more prolonged hypervigilance than traditional stalking, suggesting that the experience of cyberstalking tends to build and compound over time (Nobles et al., 2013).

Lastly, while victims of traditional stalking are typically women, female victims represented only 58 percent of the case of cyberstalking (Nobles et al., 2013).

With increased access to social media, we can only imagine that cases of cyberstalking will become more prevalent. However, we can also hope that we better understand the effects of cyberstalking and are prepared to treat them.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Course:

Stalking: Recognizing and RespondingStalking: Recognizing and Responding is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines the prevalence of stalking and provides therapists with the means to identify and assist victims/survivors.

Stalking is a crime that is far more prevalent and more dangerous than most people realize. It is a crime that is not well understood and that often goes unrecognized. Findings from various studies examining the prevalence of stalking suggest that community-based interventions are critical to raising awareness about this crime and promoting prevention efforts. Mental health professionals have an important role in identifying and treating victims/survivors of stalking through educating themselves about this crime.

Researchers have found that stalking victims have a higher incidence of mental disorders and comorbid illnesses compared with the general population, with the most robust associations identified between stalking victimization, major depressive disorder, and panic disorder. Additionally, intimate partner stalking has been identified as a common form of IPV experienced by women veterans that strongly contributes to their risk for probable PTSD. These findings indicate that it is important to assess for these symptoms and diagnoses when working with victims/survivors of stalking.

This course is designed to enhance your understanding of stalking by reviewing key findings from research on stalking, identifying common tactics used by stalkers, and exploring the intersections between stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence. This course will also examine common reactions experienced by victims/survivors of stalking and discuss ways to assist victims/survivors in clinical practice. Course #11-17 | 2018 | 18 pages | 10 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

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