• The impact of cyberstalking: the lived experience - a thematic analysis

      Short, Emma; Linford, Sarah; Wheatcroft, Jacqueline M.; Maple, Carsten; (Virtual reality med institute, 2014-12-31)
      Cyberstalking (CS) can have major psychosocial impacts on individuals. Victims report a number of serious consequences of victimization such as increased suicidal ideation, fear, anger, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology. Research is largely limited to quantitative outcome research. This study examines the diversity of experiences reported by people who define themselves as having been cyberstalked. Thematic analysis was used to explore 100 CS victim narratives, gathered by means of an online survey questionnaire designed to capture structured text responses. Five emergent themes were evident in the data: control and intimidation; determined offender; development of harassment; negative consequences; and lack of support. Findings identify similarities and differences to traditional stalking, along with the necessity of support for victims and illustration of the negative impacts this form of harassment produces.
    • Victims’ voices: understanding the emotional impact of cyberstalking and individuals’ coping responses

      Worsley, Joanne D.; Wheatcroft, Jacqueline M.; Short, Emma; Corcoran, Rhiannon (SAGE, 2017-05-23)
      Recent quantitative research has identified similar detrimental effects on victims of cyberstalking as those that arise from traditional stalking. The current study thematically analyzed one hundred victim narratives gathered by means of an online survey with a view to assessing the mental health and well-being implications of the experience of cyberstalking. Coping strategies employed by victims and the perceived effectiveness of each strategy were also explored. The findings suggest that the emotional impact of cyberstalking predominantly includes comorbid anxiety and depression. Common coping strategies adopted by victims in our sample include avoidant coping, ignoring the perpetrator, confrontational coping, support seeking, and cognitive reframing. Taken together, the findings demonstrate that the ramifications of cyberstalking are widespread, affecting psychological, social, interpersonal, and economic aspects of life. To adapt, some victims made major changes to both their work and social life, with some ceasing employment and others modifying their usual daily activities. The widespread negative effects of cyberstalking identified in this study highlight that this phenomenon should be a concern to both legal and mental health professionals, particularly as the comments made by our sample illustrate the current inadequacy of response and provision. Recommendations are discussed and provided for law enforcement and mental health professionals.