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A wolf in sheep’s clothing: taxometric evidence of the dimensional structure of stalking

A wolf in sheep’s clothing: taxometric evidence of the dimensional structure of stalking

Longpre, Nicholas, Stefanska, Ewa ORCID: 0000-0002-5685-0763, Papoutsi, Maria and White, Eleanor (2023) A wolf in sheep’s clothing: taxometric evidence of the dimensional structure of stalking. Journal of Criminal Psychology. pp. 1-16. ISSN 2009-3829 (Print), 2009-3829 (Online) (doi:

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Purpose: Stalking can be defined as a pattern of repeated and unwanted behaviours that cause another person to be afraid. The consequences for the victims can be severe and potentially happen over a long period of time. While stalking is considered as a taxon, empirical evidence, and an absence of pathognomonic criteria, point toward a dimensional structure.
Methods: The aim of the present study is to examine the latent structure of stalking using taxometric analyses on the Severity of Stalking Behaviours Scale. Analyses were conducted on a sample of N = 1032 victims’ accounts, who had contacted the National Stalking Helpline in the United Kingdom.
Findings: Taxometric analyses revealed that stalking presents a dimensional structure and no taxonic peaks emerged. Results were consistent across analyses (MAMBAC, MAXEIG and L-Mode), indicators (CCFI, Curves) and measures (Items, Factors).
Implications: A dimensional structure implies that individual variation is a matter of intensity, and the present results suggest that the conceptualization of stalking should be modified. Understanding stalking from a dimensional perspective provides support to study stalking in nonclinical populations. Scales that measure stalking should provide discrimination along the entire continuum rather than focusing on putative taxonic boundaries and arbitrary threshold.
Originality: This paper is proposing the first set of taxometric analyses on stalking. Results are providing empirical support to the idea that stalking exists on a continuum. It also strengthened the validity of previous findings in nonclinical populations and their applications all along the continuum, including with clinical populations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited
Uncontrolled Keywords: stalking; taxometric; latent structure; dimensional structure; measurement; cut-off
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 12:58

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