Discriminating approachers and nonapproachers: Can knowledge from research within a public figure context be extrapolated to a community context?
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Copyright © American Psychological Association, 2015. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: http://doi.org/10.1037/tam0000041
Research examining stalking with public figure and community samples overlap but have developed separately as a consequence of different focal points. It has been demonstrated that if ex-intimates are removed from analyses, research using public figure and community stalker samples can produce very similar findings. The present study examines whether 5 independent variables previously identified as predictors of stalker approach in public figure samples (Meloy et al., 2011) were related to stalker approach within a self-defined community sample of stalking victims (N = 1,440). These variables have been found to predict stalker approach within public figure and community stalker samples. None predicted stalker approach in the present study. Our sample differed from earlier samples in important ways, recording far lower rates of serious mental disorder in stalkers and including stalkers who were not apprehended by police and/or referred to forensic mental health services. In addition, research examining stalking using public figure samples categorizes attempted approaches as approaches whereas the present study used a more literal classification. It is concluded that findings from research within a public figure context cannot simply be extrapolated to a community context. Caution must be applied, and the nature of the base sample appears to dictate the transferability of findings.
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