ArticlePDF Available

Coping and Unwanted Pursuit Behaviours Following Breakups in Young Adulthood


Abstract and Figures

Unwanted pursuit behaviours (UPBs) comprise repeated and unwanted efforts to establish intimate contact in the form of harassing, tracking, and monitoring. These are common among young adults following the breakup of a romantic relationship, typically by the rejected partner. The relational goal pursuit theory (RGPT) proposes that UPB users overestimate the importance of a relationship to higher-order goals. This study assessed how well a new coping-based approach and the RGPT model predicted UPB frequency and scope. Two hundred participants (50% female; aged 19–24) completed an anonymous online survey. Ruminating was linked to both greater frequency and scope of UPB use. Higher levels of emotion-focused coping and perceived self-efficacy to re-establish intimacy were linked to the use of a wider scope of unwanted pursuit behaviours. Insights gained from UPB users are necessary for understanding mechanisms associated with the turbulent and distressing aftermath of a romantic breakup.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Journal of Relationships
Original Article
Cite this article: Foshay JE, OSullivan LF
(2018). Coping and Unwanted Pursuit
Behaviours Following Breakups in Young
Adulthood. Journal of Relationships Research
10, e3, 18.
Received: 7 September 2018
Revised: 18 November 2018
Accepted: 24 November 2018
coping; unwanted pursuit behaviour;
rumination; young adults; romantic
relationships; breakups
Address for correspondence: Jeff Foshay,
B.A., Department of Psychology, University of
New Brunswick, P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton,
New Brunswick, Canada, E3B 5A3. Email:
© The Author(s) 2019
Coping and Unwanted Pursuit Behaviours
Following Breakups in Young Adulthood
Jeffrey E. Foshay and Lucia F. OSullivan
Department of Psychology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada
Unwanted pursuit behaviours (UPBs) comprise repeated and unwanted efforts to establish
intimate contact in the form of harassing, tracking, and monitoring. These are common
among young adults following the breakup of a romantic relationship, typically by the rejected
partner. The relational goal pursuit theory (RGPT) proposes that UPB users overestimate the
importance of a relationship to higher-order goals. This study assessed how well a new cop-
ing-based approach and the RGPT model predicted UPB frequency and scope. Two hundred
participants (50% female; aged 1924) completed an anonymous online survey. Ruminating
was linked to both greater frequency and scope of UPB use. Higher levels of emotion-focused
coping and perceived self-efficacy to re-establish intimacy were linked to the use of a wider
scope of unwanted pursuit behaviours. Insights gained from UPB users are necessary for
understanding mechanisms associated with the turbulent and distressing aftermath of a
romantic breakup.
In popular Western culture, many terms have emerged to describe a person who engages in
unwanted pursuit of a former relationship partner, including stalkerand Facebook creeper.
Stalking is generally defined in the legal system as engaging in repeated, intentional, and
unwanted behaviours that evoke feelings of fear in the target (Spitzberg & Cupach, 2007).
Specifics of the legal definition vary across jurisdictions, making it difficult for researchers
to capture these behaviours consistently (Fox, Nobles, & Fisher, 2011). The term unwanted
pursuit behaviours(UPBs) has been adopted to describe the broader scope of behaviours,
including less intrusive and more seemingly benign forms of harassment, tracking, and mon-
itoring. UPBs have been defined as the repeated and unwanted pursuit of intimacy through
violation of physical and/or symbolic privacy(Spitzberg & Cupach, 2007, p. 66). UPBs differ
from stalking in that they do not require the target to experience fear to meet the criterion
(Spitzberg & Cupach, 2007).
Prevalence of Unwanted Pursuit Behaviours After Breakups
Studies examining the prevalence of UPBs in young adulthood after relationship breakups
indicate that 6399% of participants used at least one UPB post-breakup (De Smet,
Uzieblo, Loeys, Buysse, & Onraedt, 2015; Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Palarea, Cohen, &
Rohling, 2000; Lee & OSullivan, 2014). Use of UPBs for most of these individuals was infre-
quent and brief (De Smet et al., 2015). Less severe pursuit behaviours following a breakup are
relatively common, especially in college samples, whereas more extreme forms such as physical
or sexual violence are quite rare (Dutton & Winstead, 2011; Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.,
2000; Wigman, Graham-Kevan, & Archer, 2008). A study examining both online and offline
forms of UPBs in 271 young adults found that individuals did not report using online UPBs
more often than offline ones, despite the increasing popularity of online forms of communi-
cation among this age group (Lee & OSullivan, 2014).
User Characteristics
Ex-partners comprise the majority of UPB users, consistent with the relational context in
which these behaviours occur (Alexy, Burgess, Baker, & Smoyak, 2005; Sheridan, Gilett,
Davies, Blaauw, & Patel, 2003). Rumination regarding the breakup is a significant predictor
of the frequency of UPBs, and the degree of rumination tends to grow more severe over
time until the problem is resolved or abandoned (Cupach, Spitzberg, Bolingbroke, &
Tellitocci, 2011). Individuals who persistently pursue past relationship partners often believe
that they can reconcile with their partner through sheer force of will and persistence
(Cupach et al., 2011).
However, a key task of young adulthood at a developmental stage is to acquire and refine
intimate relationship skills through experiences in ones intimate relationships (Arnett, 2000).
One factor that has yet to be explored in relation to UPB use is the degree of romantic com-
petence that an individual possesses. Romantic competence refers to the skills developed in Published online by Cambridge University Press
previous relationship contexts, such as communication, empathy,
and resolving conflict (Salvatore, Collins, & Simpson, 2012).
Research (Fine & Sacher, 1997) has found that by young adult-
hood, individuals have experienced several romantic relationships
and breakups. However, it is unknown how skills and experience
gained from past relationships are associated with an individuals
likelihood of using UPBs in turbulent relational contexts such as
Gender Differences
Few studies have found gender differences in UPB use among
young adults (De Smet, Buysse, & Brondeel, 2011; De Smet
et al., 2015; Haugaard & Seri, 2004; Lee & OSullivan, 2014;
Shorey, Cornelius, & Strauss, 2015). Men and women have similar
profiles in both choice and frequency of behaviours, with few
exceptions. The most notable gender difference that emerges
involves the appraisal of the behaviour by targets of UPBs.
Women report feeling more threatened by UPBs from an
ex-partner than do men (Cupach & Spitzberg, 2000; De Smet
et al., 2015; Lee & OSullivan, 2014). Yet other studies found no
gender differences in terms of fear, discomfort, anger, or annoy-
ance as a target of UPBs (Sinclair & Frieze, 2005). We explored
the role that gender plays in terms of frequency, scope, and
appraisal of UPBs in the current study.
The Context of Relationship Breakup
The context of the relationship breakup may be linked to UPB
use. Feeling a lack of control over a relationship breakup was asso-
ciated with both a higher frequency and scope of UPB use com-
pared to those who initiated their breakup (Belu, Lee, &
OSullivan, 2016; De Smet et al., 2011). This difference may
emerge because greater emotional commitment to the relation-
ship is associated with increased distress and anxiety after rela-
tionship dissolution compared to those who were less
committed (Fine & Sacher, 1997; Frazier & Cook, 1993).
Breakups also can serve as catalysts for the emergence of serious
mental health issues in early adulthood, particularly anxiety and
depression (Davis, Shaver, & Vernon, 2003; Monroe, Rohde,
Seeley, & Lewinsohn, 1999). Thus, the context and stress sur-
rounding the relationship breakup appear to play key roles in
the use of UPBs.
Coping Strategies Following a Breakup
Coping refers to behaviours and cognitions that assist an individ-
ual in dealing with external or internal threats that are appraised
as exceeding personal resources (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).
Coping strategies typically emerge immediately after a stressful
event such as a breakup and play a significant role in the concep-
tualisation of the stressor and adjustment to it (Lazarus &
Folkman, 1984). The most common strategies are task focused
(i.e., directly and practically dealing with a stressor) and emotion
focused (i.e., aimed at minimising distress surrounding the stres-
sor), and avoidance coping (i.e., avoiding distress associated with
the stressor; Endler & Parker, 1999; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984;
Rafnsson, Smari, Windle, Mears, & Endler, 2006). The effective-
ness of coping strategies in reducing distress varies between
individuals and contexts, and research has found evidence
that emotion-focused and avoidance strategies can be beneficial
as well (Compas, Connor-Smith, Saltzman, Thomsen, &
Wadsworth, 2001).
Researchers have yet to examine the association between UPBs
and the coping patterns of the user. However, the stress that pro-
pels ex-partners to use UPBs following a breakup may reflect a
poor choice in coping strategies, such as rumination or substance
use. Identifying maladaptive coping strategies among UPB users is
critical to understanding the mechanisms in which these beha-
viours emerge. Most UPB research on coping has focused instead
on how individuals have dealt with being the target of UPBs
(Chung et al., 2002; Dutton & Winstead, 2011). Targets tended
to use passive strategies such as avoidance and support-seeking
more often than active, task-focused strategies (Dutton &
Winstead, 2011). More frequent UPB victimisation is correlated
with increased use of coping resources, and individuals tend to
employ more task-focused strategies as the behaviour gets more
severe (i.e., involving threats, violence; Spitzberg, Marshall, &
Cupach, 2001). Although commonly used following a breakup,
avoidance strategies are generally associated with worse general
health outcomes, including more anxiety, somatic symptoms,
social dysfunction and depression (Chung et al., 2002).
Relational Goal Pursuit Theory
The current study was guided by the relational goal pursuit theory
(RGPT; Spitzberg & Cupach, 2007), which was developed specif-
ically for the study of post-relationship pursuit behaviours and is
visually represented in Figure 1. According to RGPT, goals are
conceptualised as being hierarchical in nature (Martin & Tesser,
1989). Goals that are lower-order and of lesser importance are
more easily abandoned, whereas higher-order goals tend to per-
sist. Goal-linking occurs when an individual believes that a
lower -order goal is necessary to reach to obtain a higher-order
goal. According to RGPT, those who obsessively pursue
ex-partners believe that the lower-order goal of maintaining the
relationship, by whatever means possible, is necessary for obtain-
ing valuable higher-order goals, such as happiness, self-worth,
and purpose (Cupach & Spitzberg, 2004). Once linked in this
way, an ex-partner may subsequently adopt persistent, obsessive,
and often intrusive pursuit behaviours (Cupach et al., 2011;
Cupach & Spitzberg, 2004).
Fig. 1 - Colour online
Fig. 1. Relational goal pursuit theory (RGPT).
2 Jeffrey E. Foshay and Lucia F. OSullivan Published online by Cambridge University Press
The RGPT model proposes multiple factors that contribute to
UPB use. Rumination is one factor that is believed to intensify the
severity and frequency of UPBs under RGPT. Rumination occurs
when an individual fails to obtain a lower-order relational goal
that is linked with a higher-order goal (Cupach & Spitzberg,
2004; McIntosh & Martin, 1992). The faulty perception that the
relationship is essential for self-worth or happiness leads to
extremely negative predictions regarding the impact of failing to
achieve a higher-order goal. Rumination about perceived conse-
quences of failure intensify over time until the goal is abandoned
or obtained. However, because the relational goal is now linked to
a higher-order one, the goal is unlikely to be abandoned easily
(McIntosh & Martin, 1992).
RGPT posits that rumination alone is insufficient for UPB use,
as the belief that the goal is obtainable is also critical to the model.
High self-efficacy has been associated with increased UPB use
(Bagozzi, 1992). To pursue an ex-partner persistently in the face
of repeated failure, an individual must have a strong belief that
the goal is obtainable. Individuals using UPBs tend to misinter-
pret rejections or non-invitations as encouragement to continue
the pursuit behaviour (Cupach, Spitzberg, & Carson, 2000). The
RGPT model represents the first conceptualisation of the factors
that are associated with UPB use and was used as the conceptual
framework here.
The Current Study
Past research has identified that UPBs are common following rela-
tionship breakups among young adults (De Smet et al., 2015; Lee
&OSullivan, 2014), and being a target of UPBs is associated with
adverse mental health (Chung et al., 2002; Dutton & Winstead,
2011). Coping has a solid body of empirical support for its role
in helping people overcome adverse situations, such as relation-
ship breakups, and may be instrumental in promoting positive
post-breakup adjustment. The current study assessed how coping
style was linked to UPB use in response to the distress of a rela-
tionship loss. Because romantic competence reflects skills
acquired through experience to navigate a relationship breakup
successfully (Salvatore et al., 2012), we also examined whether
romantic competence helped to predict the frequency and scope
of UPB use. Despite little direct evidence for gender differences
in UPB use, gender is an important organising principle in rela-
tionships and was a focus of the current study. Gender differences
were analysed first to determine whether subsequent analyses
required gender to be used as a control.
The research questions for the study are as follows:
RQ1: Are there gender differences between men and women in the fre-
quency, scope, or appraisal of ones UPB use?
RQ2: Are the levels of perceived distress associated with the breakup, cop-
ing strategies, and romantic competence associated with the frequency and
scope of UPB use?
RQ3: How well do the RGPT model constructs (i.e., self-efficacy, goal-
linking, and rumination) account for the frequency and scope of UPB use?
Two hundred participants (50% female; M
= 22.3, SD = 1.34;
aged 1924) were recruited from Amazons Mechanical Turk
(MTurk®), a widely adopted crowdsourcing website that allows
individuals to complete online jobs of their choosing for
monetary compensation (Mason & Suri, 2012). Eligibility criteria
included being a resident of the United States, between 1924
years, having experienced a romantic or dating relationship that
lasted at least two months and that had been terminated in the
last six months, and not currently engaged in a romantic relation-
ship. Participants identified primarily as Caucasian (76%), hetero-
sexual (88.5%), and were generally employed full-time (53.5%).
Demographic questionnaire
Participants completed a demographic measure designed for the
current study that assessed a range of background information,
including age, gender (male, female, transgender, other), sexual
orientation (e.g., heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual), ethnicity
(e.g., American Indian, Asian, African American, Caucasian),
religion (importance ranging from 1 to 5), educational/employ-
ment circumstance (part-time student, full-time student, part-
time employed, full-time employed, unemployed, receiving social
assistance), and relationship status (single, dating, married).
Sexual and relationship history
This measure assessed qualities of the participantsmost recent
relationship, including relationship duration (in months), who
initiated the breakup (me, partner, mutual, unsure), and gender
of the partner (male, female, transman, transwomen, other).
Feelings of closeness, level of commitment (i.e., desire for rela-
tionship to last), and romantic and sexual satisfaction were
assessed on a 4-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all)to
4(a lot). The measure also assessed perceived intensity of the cur-
rent breakup compared to previous ones on a 6-point Likert scale
ranging from 1 (much more serious/intense)to6(I have never bro-
ken up with anyone before). This measure has been used success-
fully in our prior research (Lee & OSullivan, 2018). Individuals
were also asked to indicate the number of past romantic relation-
ships in which they have been involved (romantic competence).
Unwanted pursuit behaviours
The Unwanted Pursuit Behavior Inventory (Lee & OSullivan,
2014) is a 36-item measure designed to capture both online and
offline forms of unwanted pursuit that occur following a relation-
ship breakup. It was designed using young adult samples and
examines both offline and online UPBs. Respondents are asked
if they engaged in any of the 36 behaviours when dealing with
a recent breakup ( yes/no). Examples of the items include
Walked or drove around to try and see themand Sent needy
or demanding messages. Respondents report the number of
times that they had engaged in each behaviour that they report
using, and appraise the behaviour in terms of perceived severity
of the fear and harm experienced by the target. Fear is measured
by asking respondents to indicate how threatened they believed
their targets were by the respondents behaviour, whereas harm
is measured by the degree of harm respondents believed that
their target experienced, with both measures using a 5-point
Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all)to5(extremely).
Breakup distress
The Breakup Distress Scale (BDS; Field, Diego, Pelaez, Deeds, &
Delago, 2009) is a 16-item questionnaire that measures distress
following a romantic relationship breakup. Items are measured
on a 4-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all)to4(very
much so). An example of the items includes I feel I cannot accept
Journal of Relationships Research 3 Published online by Cambridge University Press
the breakup Ive experienced. Higher scores indicate greater dis-
tress. The BDS is the most widely used scale in studies of break-
ups, and it had high internal consistency in the method
development study (α= .93 at T1 and α= .96 at T2; Fields
et al., 2009), and in the current study (α= .95).
Coping style
The Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS; Endler &
Parker, 1999) is a widely adopted, 48-item, self-report question-
naire. Sixteen items are used to assess each of the three subscales:
Task-oriented coping, Emotion-focused coping, and Avoidance.
The Avoidance subscale includes two subcategories: Distraction
(8 items), Social diversion (5 items), and three filler items.
Individuals rate on a 5-point Likert scale how often they engage
in each behaviour from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). Example
of the items include: Blame myself for having gotten into this
situation (emotion-focused),Think about the event and learn
from my mistakes (task-oriented), and Take time off and get
away from the situation (avoidance). Higher scores indicate
greater use of a particular coping strategy. Alpha coefficients in
its development demonstrated good internal consistency
for Task-oriented coping (α= .87.92), Emotion-focused coping
(α=.82.90), and Avoidance (α= .76.85) subscales (Endler &
Parker, 1999). The current study found similar levels of internal
consistency (alphas = .92, .84, and .91 respectively).
The Event Related Rumination Inventory (Cann et al., 2011)isa
20-item measure that assesses the degree of excessive or intrusive
thoughts related to a specific event. The scale measures the fre-
quency with which ruminative thoughts occurred on a 4-point
Likert scale from 0 (not at all)to3(often). Higher scores indicate
more rumination about an event. A sample item is I forced
myself to think about my feelings about my experience. The
scale has revealed high internal consistencies (α=.90.94; Cann
et al., 2011; Zhang, Yan, Du, & Lui, 2013). High values were
obtained in the current study (α= .93).
Perceived self-efficacy was measured using an eight-item scale
developed specifically for the purposes of UPB research
(Cupach et al., 2011). The items were rated on a 7-point Likert
scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree)to7(strongly agree). An
example of the items is: I was confident I could get my ex-partner
to reconcile with me. Higher scores indicate greater belief that a
relationship can be reconciled or obtained. The scale was found to
have adequate internal consistency (α= .77; Cupach et al., 2011),
but good consistency in the current study (α= .87).
The degree to which an individual believes achieving a lower-
order goal is essential for obtaining a higher-order goal was mea-
sured using the Goal Linking Scale developed specifically for UPB
research, and used successfully in the past (Cupach et al., 2011).
The scale consists of eight items measured on a 7-point Likert
scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree)to7(strongly agree). A
sample item is I determined that only this person could help
me achieve my life goals. Higher scores indicate a greater likeli-
hood or linking a lower order goal (relationship) with a higher
order goal (happiness). The scale was found to have high internal
consistency (α= .93; Cupach et al., 2011), and this was true also in
the current study (α= .87).
A priori power analyses indicated that 77 participants are required
to have 80% power for detecting a medium effect size. Participants
were recruited through MTurk®, and interested individuals clicked
on a link to a secure server. Those eligible completed a consent form
prior to completing the anonymous online survey. All measures
were first entered into Checkbox Survey®, a professional survey plat-
form then linked to MTurk®. The two platforms were separate, and
identifying information was not connected to their responses. The
survey took approximately 30 minutes to complete. After finishing
the survey, participants were taken to a webpage where they were
thanked for their participation, given a debriefing form, and
asked for their MTurk® worker ID to receive monetary compensa-
tion for their time. All measures and procedures were piloted in
full prior to the study and were approved by our institutions
research ethics board.
Data Analyses
Data were screened and conditioned using procedures outlined by
Tabachnick and Fidell (2018). The SPSS Missing Values Analysis
software was used to determine whether data were missing sys-
tematically or at random. Participants (n= 4) who failed to
complete more than 10% of the demographic, coping style,
UPB use, and relationship measures were excluded automatically
from all analyses. For variables missing less than 5% of data or
data that were missing at random, missing values were not
adjusted. These analyses revealed no non-random missing data.
Univariate outliers (n= 8) that fell beyond three standard devia-
tions from the mean score and were discontinuous from the
rest of the sample were individually recoded to within three stand-
ard deviations, and multivariate outliers (n= 1) were deleted only
when conducting regression analyses (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2018).
No significant issues regarding normality, linearity, and/or homo-
scedasticity assumption violations were observed. No participants
failed the response validity items embedded in the survey, but
four were identified as repeat, random, or careless responders
and excluded from all analyses. The final sample included 200
First, a multivariate analyses of covariance (MANCOVA) was
used to assess gender differences in the frequency and scope of
UPB use, as well as the subjective appraisal of threat and harm
associated with UPB strategies used (RQ1). Time since breakup
was controlled for in the procedure. Next, two hierarchical linear
regressions analyses were used to investigate whether distress,
romantic competence, and coping strategies predicted frequency
and scope of UPB use (RQ2). Finally, two hierarchical linear
regressions were used to investigate whether self-efficacy, goal-
linking, and rumination predicted frequency and scope of UPB
use (RQ3). Time since breakup was entered on the first step as
a control variable, with the remaining variables entered at the
second step.
Descriptive statistics regarding respondentsuse of UPBs overall
as a function of offline/online behaviour, and percentage of use
by strategy are presented in Table 1. Overall, 63% of respondents
reported using at least one UPB after their most recent breakup.
UPB use occurred at a relatively high frequency (M= 13.75,
SD = 17.61, range =182), and scope (M= 2.91, SD = 2.09,
4 Jeffrey E. Foshay and Lucia F. OSullivan Published online by Cambridge University Press
range =19). Offline forms of UPBs (59% of respondents) were
more commonly used than were online methods (32% of respon-
dents), χ
(1) = 29.40, p< .05. For offline UPBs, the most common
strategies were telephoning the ex-partner (30%), trying to find
out what their ex-partner was doing (26.5%), and leaving tele-
phone messages (12%). More extreme strategies, such as physic-
ally hurting an ex-partner (0.5%) and forcing an ex-partner to
perform unwanted sex acts (1%) were relatively rare. For online
UPBs, the most common strategies included sending extremely
private messages (16%) and sending messages of affection
(14.5%). Again, more severe behaviours, such as sending threaten-
ing messages (0%) and giving out private information (1%), were
absent entirely or rare.
The association between gender and UPB use was examined first.
Bivariate correlations did not suggest any relationship between gen-
der and UPB frequency, scope, or subjective appraisal (i.e., subjective
ratings of threat and harm to their ex-partner). The MANCOVA
revealed no significant relationships, F(4, 115) = 1.582, p>.05,
The extent to which breakup distress, relationship experience
(i.e., lifetime number of relationship partners), and coping strat-
egies predicted the frequency and scope of UPB strategies used
in a recent breakup was examined next. Bivariate correlations
indicated that emotion-focused coping was significantly asso-
ciated with UPB frequency and scope (Table 2). Task-focused
and avoidance coping were unrelated to any dependent variable
and therefore were not included in subsequent analyses.
Bivariate correlations revealed strong relationships between the
predictor variables (emotion-focused coping, breakup distress)
and UPB frequency and scope.
Separate hierarchical linear regression analyses were conducted
to predict frequency of UPB use and scope of UPB behaviours
used while controlling for time since breakup. Predictors were
breakup distress, number of former partners, and level of
emotion-focused coping. Time since breakup was entered in the
first step, while the remaining predictors were entered in the
second step. The regression analyses predicting UPB frequency
was significant, R
= .20, F(4,104) = 6.06, p< .001. However, no
individual predictors were significantly associated with the fre-
quency of UPBs used. Both emotion-focused coping (β= .24,
p> .07) and breakup distress (β= .22, p> .097) approached sig-
nificance. The analyses predicting scope of UPB use also was sig-
nificant, R
=.23, F(4,104) = 7.34, p< .001. Emotion-focused
coping (β= .23, p< .01) was found to be significantly associated
with the scope of UPBs used. Higher levels of emotion-focused
coping were associated with an individual engaging in a greater
diversity of UPB strategies.
The RGPT was assessed regarding whether goal-linking,
self-efficacy, and rumination could predict UPB frequency
and scope. Bivariate correlations indicated that rumination,
self-efficacy, and goal-linking were significantly associated
with UPB frequency and scope (Table 3). The hierarchical lin-
ear regression analyses predicting UPB frequency was signifi-
cant, R
=.16, F(4,111) = 5.00, p< .01. Rumination (β=.37,
p< .001) was found to be significantly associated with the fre-
quency of UPB use. Higher levels of rumination predicted
more frequent use of UPBs following a breakup. The hierarch-
ical linear regression analyses predicting scope of UPB use was
also significant, R
= .19, F(4,111) = 6.19, p< .001. Both rumin-
ation (β=.35, p< .001) and self-efficacy (β=.18, p<.05) were
significantly associated with the scope of UPBs used. Higher
levels of rumination and perceived self-efficacy that one can
Table 1. Percentage of Individuals Using UPBs by Strategy and Overall
Strategy % N
Offline forms of UPBs 59 118
Telephoned him/her 30 60
Left messages on his/her machine 12 24
Wrote him/her letters or notes 9 18
Tried to listen to his/her voice messages or phone
Tried to read his/her mail 1.5 3
Walked or drove around to try and see him/her 10.5 21
Came to his/her home 8 16
Came to his/her work/university to see him/her 3 6
Tried to approach him/her despite being told not to 2.5 5
Tried to find out what she/he was up to 26.5 53
Bragged of what you know about him/her 1.5 3
Ordered something for him/her 2 4
Tried to get into his/her house/apartment/dorm 1 2
Tried to make him/her look bad 6.5 13
Took something he/she owned 2.5 5
Hurt his/her pet(s) 0 0
Broke something that belongs to him/her 4 8
Broke something that belongs to someone she/he
was dating
Threatened to hurt yourself 2.5 5
Said things that scared him/her 2.5 5
Said things that scared his/her friends, family, or
Hurt him/her physically (intentionally or
0.5 1
Hurt something he/she was dating 0 0
Had him/her perform sexual acts outside comfort
Online forms of UPBs 32 64
Sent token of affection 3.5 7
Sent messages of affection 14.5 29
Sent very personal messages 16 32
Sent needy or demanding messages 4 8
Sent sexual messages 4 8
Pretended to be someone you werent 3.5 7
Altered or took over their electronic identity or
Sent threatening messages about him/her 0 0
Tried to hurt his/her private reputation 1 2
Exposed private information about him/her to others 2.5 5
Got private information about him/her without
Tried to hurt his/her professional reputation 0 0
Total using one or more UPB strategies 63 126
Note: N= 200.
Journal of Relationships Research 5 Published online by Cambridge University Press
achieve ones relational goals were associated with a wider scope
of UPBs used to pursue an ex-partner, providing support for the
RGPT model.
Following a relationship breakup, nearly two-thirds (63%) of the
young adults in this study reported that they had used at least one
type of behaviour that constitutes unwanted pursuit against their
former relationship partner. This rate is somewhat lower than
found in similar studies of UPB use (De Smet et al., 2015;
Haugaard & Siri, 2004), likely because we sampled a more hetero-
geneous population than is the case with the college samples used
in past research. The young adults in the current study tended to
use, on average, almost three forms of unwanted pursuit beha-
viours after experiencing a romantic breakup, primarily in-person
(vs. online) forms, and they reported using UPBs at a relatively
high frequency (M = 13.75 occasions). Fortunately, and in line
with other research (Lee & OSullivan, 2014), the majority used
relatively benign behaviours (e.g., sending unwanted messages,
looking for information about ex-partner). More severe pursuit
behaviours (e.g., violence, theft of personal objects) were relatively
rare. Even so, these results indicate that many young people have
trouble letting go after the loss of a romantic relationship.
The current study replicated the findings from past research
(Lee & OSullivan, 2014) that UPB use still occurs offline to a sig-
nificant extent, despite greater use of technology among emerging
adults (Olsen, OBrien, Rogers, & Charness, 2011). In fact, we
found that 59% of respondents engaged in an offline UPB,
whereas only 32% reported engaging in an online UPB. This dif-
ference suggests that a core component of the pursuit is to achieve
physical, face-to-face, or in-person contact.
The first research question assessed gender differences in UPB
use and subjective appraisals of the behaviour on the target of the
pursuit. Our work confirmed what others have found, which is
that gender appears unrelated to UPB frequency, UPB scope,
and the perceived threat and harm experienced by the target
(Cupach & Spitzberg, 2000; De Smet et al., 2015). Young
women did not perceive their UPB use as more harmful to a tar-
get than did their male counterparts, even though female targets
of UPBs have been found to view the behaviour as more threaten-
ing than male targets (Cupach & Spitzberg, 2000). It may be that
UPB users experience dissonance around the use of these beha-
viours, dismissing the intrusiveness, inappropriateness and
unwanted nature of these efforts, which prevents them from
acknowledging the potential threat and harm to the target.
Future research should use qualitative methods to explore in
depth how young people interpret the meaning of their use of
UPBs, the impact (if any) that they believe these behaviours
have on the target, and the extent to which dissonance regarding
UPB use is apparent in their accounts.
The second research question examined the role of coping in
UPB use, testing a model that incorporates the coping strategies
used following a breakup. Breakups are recalled as one of the
most stressful experiences in emerging adulthood (Park, Cohen,
& Murch, 1996; Tashiro, & Frazier, 2003), and therefore it is
important to assess the role of coping as a response given its
importance in research on stressful experiences (Chung et al.,
2002). Greater use of emotion-focused coping strategies was
related to a wider scope of UPB strategies used, although unre-
lated to the frequency with which individuals engaged in
unwanted pursuit. Emotion-focused strategies typically involve
thinking about the stressor without taking steps to solve it, such
as discussing the issue with a friend. Although avoidance coping
Table 2. Bivariate Correlations for UPB Frequency and Scope, Coping Strategies, Breakup Distress, and Number of Former Partners
Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6
1. UPB frequency .
2. UPB variety .718**
3. Emotion-focused coping .393** .361**
4. Task-focused coping .034 .083 .204**
5. Avoidance coping .017 .081 .158* .370**
6. Former partners .033 .083 .069 .009 .193*
7. Breakup distress .379** .349** .681** .119 .196** .084
Note: N= 126. *p< .05. **p< .01.
Table 3. Bivariate Correlations for UPB Frequency and Scope, Goal-Linking, Self-Efficacy, and Rumination
Variable 1 2 3 4 5
1. UPB frequency .
2. UPB variety .718**
3. UPB use N/A .647**
4. Goal-linking .154 .314** .321**
5. Self-efficacy .130 .276** .236** .308**
6. Rumination .373** .394** .284** .449** .186*
Note: N= 126. *p< .05. **p< .01.
6 Jeffrey E. Foshay and Lucia F. OSullivan Published online by Cambridge University Press
fails to resolve the stressor, it may succeed in keeping the
ex-partner out of mind, which is contrary to the goals of
unwanted pursuit. The fact that task-focused coping was not
related to UPB use was surprising; however, as noted by
Compas et al. (2001), the success of a coping strategy depends
heavily on the individual and context. Perhaps task-focused strat-
egies are less beneficial when there is no concrete solutionto a
problem, such as is the case with a relationship breakup.
Interestingly, relationship experience and breakup distress
were found to be unrelated to UPB frequency and scope in the
analyses. This finding is at odds with research that has found sig-
nificant relationships between breakup distress and UPB use (De
Smet et al., 2011). It is possible that the lingering impact of a
breakup overlaps significantly with breakup-related rumination,
as rumination was significantly linked to UPB frequency and use.
The third and final research question looked at the predictive
power of factors associated with RGPT theory and UPB frequency
and scope. Proponents of RGPT (Spitzberg & Cupach, 2007) argue
that rumination, self-efficacy, and goal-linking are important fac-
tors in the use of UPBs. However, UPB research is relatively new,
and the RGPT model was only tested once as of this writing
(Cupach et al., 2011). In line with previous research (Cupach
et al., 2011), rumination emerged as a significant predictor of
both UPB frequency and scope. Self-efficacy was also related to
increased UPB scope. Goal-linking was not found to be a significant
predictor of UPBs, contrasting findings by Cupach et al. (2011).
Thus, perseverating about the relationship loss paired with a belief
that one can bring about a reconciliation with a reluctant and reject-
ing partner were most closely linked to unwanted pursuit. Future
research should continue to examine the core elements that predict
UPB behaviour in the attempt to create a cohesive model of UPB
use. Rumination, self-efficacy, and emotion-focused coping are
some of the factors that appear valuable.
Study Limitations and Future Directions
There were several limitations to the current study that should be
noted. Although fairly diverse in terms of ethnicity and sexual
orientation, the sample only included respondents from the
United States, so the findings cannot be generalised beyond this
population. Future research should explore UPB use and links
to coping among other age groups. In addition, our sample com-
prised individuals recruited using crowdsourcing online, which
improved representativeness over traditional college samples,
but may have introduced issues with participant integrity and
data quality (Smith, Roster, Golden, & Albaum, 2016), although
our validity checks appeared to indicate otherwise.
Another limitation of the study is that it does not address any
legal or forensic issues associated with the more extreme forms of
UPBs. It therefore does not inform potential treatment avenues or
programs that aid in rehabilitating this population. Romantic
competence was also defined narrowly in the current study, in
that more romantic competence was related to having a greater
number of former partners. These data may have captured
romantic experience, but not necessarily competence if an indi-
vidual acquired no new relationships skills across their relation-
ships. In addition, more relationships might have a curvilinear
relationship with romantic competence in that both those with
few and those with many past relationships may have trouble
establishing and sustaining a lasting close relationship. Future
research should utilise a more valid measure of romantic
Research that relies on self-reports are always subject to
response bias and socially desirable responding. We tried to offset
these problems by ensuring participants were aware that their
responses were anonymous, embedding validity checks through-
out the survey, and using non-judgmental wording throughout.
However, our findings likely still reflect these biases to some
degree, given the social sensitivity of this topic. Replication of
the current study will be important to increase confidence in
these results. Future research also should explore coping in greater
detail, especially in terms of whether specific subtypes of
emotion-focused strategies are particularly problematic for UPB
use. Additional testing of the significant elements of both the
RGPT and coping-based models of UPB use is warranted.
The current study has important implications for understanding
and alleviating distress associated with UPB use following a
breakup. Depression, anxiety, social withdrawal and isolation,
sleep issues, and fear are common among individuals who experi-
ence unwanted pursuit (Chung et al., 2002; Dutton & Winstead,
2011; McEwan, Mullen, & Mackenzie, 2009). Despite high preva-
lence rates, especially in young adult-aged samples, there has been
a lack of research addressing this topic. These findings give some
insights into the factors that might reveal that an individual is
having trouble letting go of an intimate relationship that has
ended. Perceived self-efficacy and rumination were found to pre-
dict UPB use, and emotion-focused coping strategies used post
breakup were also associated with the unwanted pursuit of an
ex-partner. Coping strategies represent a promising target for
researchers and clinicians who want to better understand relation-
ship distress and reduce the negative effects among young adults.
Author ORCIDs. Jeffrey E. Foshay 0000-0002-5312-5638
Acknowledgments. We acknowledge the work of Ms Mary Byers in assisting
with recruitment and survey creation.
Disclosure. The authors are not aware of any potential conflicts of interest.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial
or not-for-profit sectors. The authors assert that all procedures contributing to
this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and insti-
tutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki
Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.
Alexy E.M., Burgess A.W., Baker T., & Smoyak S.A. (2005). Perceptions of
cyberstalking among college students. Brief Treatment and Crisis
Intervention,5, 279289. doi:10.1093/brief-treatment/mhi020
Arnett J.J. (2000). Emerging adulthood. A theory of development from the late
teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469480.
Bagozzi R.P. (1992). The self-regulation of attitudes, intentions, and behavior.
Social Psychology Quarterly,55, 178204. Retrieved from
Belu C.F., Lee B.H., & OSullivan L.F. (2016). It hurts to let you go:
Characteristics of romantic relationships, breakups and the aftermath
among emerging adults. Journal of Relationships Research,7,111.
Cann A., Calhoun L.G., Tedeschi R.G., Triplett K.N., Vishnevsky T., &
Lindstrom C.M. (2011). Assessing posttraumatic cognitive processes: The
Event Related Rumination Inventory. Anxiety, Stress & Coping: An
International Journal,24, 137156. doi:10.1080/10615806.2010.529901
Journal of Relationships Research 7 Published online by Cambridge University Press
Chung M.C., Farmer S., Grant K., Newton R., Payne S., Perry M.,
Stone N. (2002). Self-esteem, personality and post-traumatic stress symp-
toms following the dissolution of a dating relationship. Stress and Health,
18,8390. doi:10.1002/smi.929
Compas B.E., Connor-Smith J.K., Saltzman H., Thomsen A.H., &
Wadsworth M.E. (2001). Coping with stress during childhood and adoles-
cence: Problems, progress, and potential in theory and research.
Psychological Bulletin,127(1), 87127. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.127.1.87
Cupach W.R., & Spitzberg B.H. (2004). The Dark Side of Relationship
Pursuit: From Attraction to Obsession and Stalking. Mahwah, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Cupach W.R., & Spitzberg B.H. (2000). Obsessive relational intrusion:
Incidence, perceived severity, and coping. Violence and Victims,15, 357372.
Cupach W.R., Spitzberg B.H., Bolingbroke C.M., & Tellitocci B.S. (2011).
Persistence of attempts to reconcile a terminated romantic relationship: A
partial test of relational goal pursuit theory. Communication Reports,24,
99115. doi:10.1080/08934215.2011.613737
Cupach W.R., Spitzberg B.H., & Carson C.L. (2000). Toward a theory of
obsessive relational intrusion and stalking. In K. Dindia & S. Duck (Eds.),
Communication and Personal Relationships (pp. 131146). New York,
NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Davis D., Shaver P.R., & Vernon M.V. (2003). Physical, emotional, and
behavioral reactions to breaking up. Personality and Social Psychology
Bulletin,29, 871884. doi:10.1177/0146167203029007006
De Smet O., Buysse A., & Brondeel R. (2011). Effect of the breakup context
on unwanted pursuit behavior perpetration between former partners.
Journal of Forensic Sciences,56, 934941. doi:10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.
De Smet O., Uzieblo K., Loeys T., Buysse A., & Onraedt T. (2015).
Unwanted pursuit behavior after breakup: Occurrence, risk factors, and
gender differences. Journal of Family Violence,30, 753767. doi:10.1007/
Dutton L.B., & Winstead B.A. (2011). Types, frequency, and effectiveness of
responses to unwanted pursuit and stalking. Journal of Interpersonal
Violence,26, 11291156. doi:10.1177/0886260510368153
Endler N.S., & Parker J.D.A. (1999). Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations
(CISS): Manual (2nd ed.). Toronto, Canada: Multi-Health Systems.
Field T., Diego M., Pelaez M., Deeds O., & Delgado J. (2009). Breakup dis-
tress in university students. Adolescence,44, 705727. Retrieved from http://
Fine M.A., & Sacher J.A. (1997). Predictors of distress following relationship
termination among dating couples. Journal of Social and Clinical
Psychology,16, 381388. doi:10.1521/jscp.1997.16.4.381
Fox K.A., Nobles M.R., & Fisher B.S. (2011). Method behind the madness:
An examination of stalking measurements. Aggression and Violent
Behavior,16,7484. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2010.12.004
Frazier P.A., & Cook S.W. (1993). Correlates of distress following heterosex-
ual relationship dissolution. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,10,
5567. doi:10.1177/0265407593101004
Haugaard J.J., & Seri L.G. (2004). Stalking and other forms of intrusive con-
tact among adolescents and young adults from the perspective of the person
initiating the intrusive contact. Criminal Justice and Behavior,31,3754.
Langhinrichsen-Rohling J., Palarea R.E., Cohen J., & Rohling M.L. (2000).
Breaking up is hard to do: Unwanted pursuit behavior following the dissol-
ution of a romantic relationship. Violence and Victims,15,7390.
Lazarus R.S., & Folkman S. (1984). Stress, Appraisal, and Coping. New York:
Lee B.H., & OSullivan L.F. (2014). The ex-factor: Characteristics of online
and offline post-relationship contact and tracking among Canadian emer-
ging adults. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality,23,96105.
Lee B.H., & OSullivan L.F. (2018). Aint misbehavin?: Monogamy mainten-
ance strategies in heterosexual romantic relationships. Personal
Relationships,25, 205232.
Martin L.L., & Tesser A. (1989). Toward a motivational and structural theory
of ruminative thought. In J.S. Uleman & J.A. Bargh (Eds.), Unintended
thought (pp. 306326). New York, NY: Guilford.
Mason W., & Suri S. (2012). Conducting behavioral research on Amazons
Mechanical Turk. Behavior Research Methods,44,123. doi:10.3758/
McEwan T.E., Mullen P.E., & Mackenzie R. (2009). A study of the predictors
of persistence in stalking situations. Law and Human Behavior,33, 149
158. doi:10.1007/s10979-008-9141-0
McIntosh W.D., & Martin L.L. (1992). The cybernetics of happiness: The
relation of goal attainment, rumination, and affect. In M.S. Clark (Ed.),
Emotion and social behavior (pp. 222246). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Monroe S.M., Rohde P., Seeley J.R., & Lewinsohn P.M. (1999). Life events
and depression in adolescence: Relationship loss as a prospective risk factor
for first onset of major depressive disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology,
108, 606614. doi:
Olson K., OBrien M., Rogers W., & Charness N. (2011). Diffusion of tech-
nology: Frequency of use for younger and older adults. Ageing International,
36, 123145. doi:10.1007/s12126-010-9077-9
Park C.L., Cohen L.H., & Murch R.L. (1996). Assessment and prediction of
stress-related growth. Journal of Personality,64,71105.
Rafnsson F., Smari J., Windle M., Mears S., & Endler N. (2006). Factor struc-
ture and psychometric characteristics of the Icelandic version of the coping
inventory for stressful situations (CISS). Personality and Individual
Differences,40, 12471258. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2005.11.011
Salvatore J.E., Collins W.A., & Simpson J.A. (2012). An organizational-
developmental perspective on functioning in adult romantic relationships.
In L. Campbell & T.J. Loving (Eds.), Interdisciplinary research on close rela-
tionships: The case for integration (pp. 155177). Washington, DC:
American Psychological Association.
Sheridan L., Gillett R., Davies G.M., Blaauw E., & Patel D. (2003). Theres
no smoke without fire: Are male ex-partners perceived as more entitledto
stalk than acquaintance or stranger stalkers? British Journal of Psychology,
Shorey R.C., Cornelius T.L., & Strauss C. (2015). Stalking in college student
dating relationships: A descriptive investigation. Journal of Family Violence,
30, 935942.
Sinclair H.C., & Frieze I.H. (2005). When courtship persistence becomes
intrusive pursuit: Comparing rejecter and pursuer perspectives of unre-
quited attraction. Sex Roles,52, 839852. doi:10.1007/
Smith S., Roster C., Golden L., & Albaum G. (2016). A multi-group analysis
of online survey respondent data quality: Comparing a regular USA con-
sumer panel to mTurk samples. Journal of Business Research,69, 3139
3148. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.12.002
Spitzberg B.H., & Cupach W.R. (2007). The state of the art of stalking:
Taking stock of the emerging literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior,
12,6486. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2006.05.001
Spitzberg B.H., Marshall L., & Cupach W.R. (2001). Obsessive relational
intrusion, coping, and sexual coercion victimization. Communication
Reports,14,1930. doi:10.1080/08934210109367733
Tabachnick B.G., & Fidell L.S. (2018). Using multivariate statistics. Boston,
MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
Tashiro T., & Frazier P. (2003). Ill never be in a relationship like that again:
Personal growth following relationship breakups. Personal Relationships,10,
Wigman S.A., Graham-Kevan N., & Archer J. (2008). Investigating sub-
groups of harassers: The roles of attachment, dependency, jealousy and
aggression. Journal of Family Violence,23, 557568. doi:10.1007/
Zhang W., Yan T., Du Y., & Liu X. (2013). Relationship between coping,
rumination and posttraumatic growth in mothers of children with autism
spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders,7, 1204
1210. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2013.07.008
8 Jeffrey E. Foshay and Lucia F. OSullivan Published online by Cambridge University Press
This paper will begin by defining stalking and considering in what way this may be influenced by gender. Theoretical models of stalking behaviour will be presented and the applicability of these will be discussed in relation to females who engage in stalking. Finally the paper discusses how risk assessment and treatment may be best undertaken with this client group acknowledging the constraints in the research.
Full-text available
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of compassion-focused therapy on Depression and Rumination after a romantic breakup. The present study was carried out using the single-case quasi-experimental method and a simple baseline method. For this purpose, three female participants were selected through targeted sampling and they were treated through an individual Compassion-focused Therapy (CFT) during eight 90-min sessions. Participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and Rumination (RRS) questionnaires in the baseline stage (pre-treatment) during the second, fourth, sixth and eighth sessions, and in the one-month follow-up stage. Moreover, in the pre-treatment stage, the participants completed the Love Trauma Inventory (LTI) and the MMPI-2RF questionnaires to identify the severity of disturbance after breakup and to detect the serious disorder in axis, respectively. Then they were interviewed in order to identify their personality disorder. For data analysis, clinical significance method and the recovery percentage index were used. The results showed that compassion-focused therapy has a significant effect on the reduction of Depression and mental Rumination. The percentage of non-overlap data (PND) on the Depression Scale was 100 for the first and second participants and 75 for the third participant; it was 100 on the rumination scale for all three participants. The rate of recovery of depression in the first, second, third participant was 65%, 72%, 25%, the rumination rate in the first, second, third participant was 47%, 42%, 33%, respectively. Therefore, it can be concluded that people who experienced a breakup after a compassion-focused therapy look at themselves with a new and compassionate look at their own.
Full-text available
Monogamy is a near universal expectation in intimate relationships in Western societies and is typically defined as sexual and romantic exclusivity to one partner. This research informs the paradox between monogamy intentions and high rates of infidelity. Monogamy maintenance (MM) strategies used in response to relationship threats posed by attraction to extradyadic others were identified and characterized. Across three samples, 741 U.S. adults in intimate relationships completed surveys addressing MM. Twenty‐four strategies emerged in three factors—Proactive Avoidance (of attractive alternatives), Relationship Enhancement, and Low Self‐Monitoring and Derogation (in the face of extradyadic attraction). All MM factors were commonly endorsed, yet were largely unsuccessful at forestalling infidelity.
Full-text available
Relationship breakups are common (Connolly & McIsaac, 2009), and difficulty adjusting to the breakup can manifest as post-relationship contact and tracking (PRCT; Lee & O'Sullivan, 2014). Emerging adults ( n = 271; aged 18–25; 66% female) provided reports of PRCT after their most recent breakup in the previous year. We examined relationship and breakup characteristics to predict the use of and experience of PRCT. Logistic regression analyses revealed that ex-partner initiation of the breakup and a more intense breakup predicted the use of PRCT, and ex-partner's surprise regarding the breakup predicted being a target of PRCT. A between-subjects comparison of participants who either used or experienced PRCT reported similar impact of PRCT on the self or their ex-partner. However, participants who both used and experienced PRCT reported that the impact that an ex-partner's PRCT had on their lives was more negative than their use of PRCT had on their ex-partner's life, likely reflecting an actor-observer bias in reports. Difficulty adjusting to relationship breakup is normal, and predictive of attempts to remain in contact with an ex-partner. However, the seemingly benign form of contact can have a negative impact on individuals. The findings have implications for those counselling individuals in distress following a breakup, and contribute to the discourse around boundaries after a breakup.
Awards and Praise for the first edition: Recipient of the 2006 International Association for Relationship Research (IARR) Book Award "This text, as it presently stands, is THE go-to text for stalking researchers. That is my opinion and the opinion of multiple fellow scholars I know in the field. It rarely sits on my shelf, but rather is a constant reference on my desk. I can always count on these authors to have done an extensive review of literature. I thought I was thorough, but they are always providing me with new references." --Dr. H. Colleen Sinclair, Associate Professor of Psychology, Mississippi State University "Cupach and Spitzberg provide the reader with a multidisciplinary framework for understanding the nature and impact of unwanted relationship pursuits. This book is an excellent resource for students and professionals alike who seek to gain knowledge about unwanted relational pursuits and stalking." -Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy The Dark Side of Relationship Pursuit provides historical and definitional frames for studying unwanted relationship pursuit, and considers the role of the media, law, and social science research in shaping today's conceptualizations of stalking. The volume integrates research from diverse contributing fields and disciplines, providing a thorough summary and assessment of current knowledge on stalking and obsessive pursuit. Building on the foundation of the award-winning first edition, this revision considers assessment issues, offers an expanded analysis of the meta-analysis data set, and includes coverage of intercultural and international factors. As an increasing number of scholarly disciplines and professional fields study stalking and other forms of obsessive relationship pursuit, this book is a must-have resource for examining interpersonal conflict, social and personal relationships, domestic violence, unrequited love, divorce and relational dissolution, and harassment. It also has much to offer researchers, counselors, and professionals in psychology, counseling, criminal justice, sociology, psychiatry, forensic evaluation, threat assessment, and law enforcement.
With the exploding use of Internet surveys, research efforts and data quality are increasingly subject to the effects of respondents who do not give the required attention to survey questions and who speed through the survey, or who intentionally cheat with their answers. We investigate respondent integrity and data quality for samples drawn from a “Regular” online panel and from Amazon's MTurk. New metrics for assessing sample integrity and online data quality are introduced. Overall, MTurk respondents in both respondent groups took less time to answer questions. The non-USA MTurk group deviated most from correct answers in attention filter questions and had more duplicate IP addresses. In addition, the results from the three Internet sample sources are substantively different. The choice of an Internet survey sample vendor is critical, as it can impact sample composition, respondent integrity, data quality, data structure and substantive results.