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A Narrative Study of the Emotional Processing of a Female Victim of Stalking by an Ex-Intimate Partner

Cockerell, Elspeth (2021) A Narrative Study of the Emotional Processing of a Female Victim of Stalking by an Ex-Intimate Partner. Doctor of Clinical Science (DClinSci) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.91731) (KAR id:91731)


Background: There is a body of literature which already suggests that being stalked is associated with an increased risk of mental health difficulties, such as elevated anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, the current research lacks a detailed picture of the emotional toll that being stalked can take on its victims. Aim: This research aimed to investigate the emotional impact of stalking behaviours on five females by their ex-intimate partners, using a qualitative approach to shed light on emotional experiences embedded in their stories and experiences. Methodology, Methods and Analysis: An in-depth investigation was conducted, using semi-structured interviews with five female students and staff members from the University of Kent. Each was identified as victims of stalking by their ex-intimate partners using a stalking checklist. A narrative inquiry was chosen as the ideal qualitative approach in order to gain insight into how a person experiences a particular phenomenon. The interviews were analysed and interpreted, taking into account the themes and plots that constructed the participants’ stories. The researcher used narrative inquiry based on a thematic approach to study events as described in the words of the participants. The interviews were transcribed and coded, and subsequently organised into themes chosen to best describe the information given. Findings: The findings from this research illustrated that being stalked has an impact on the victim’s ability to process and regulate their emotions in a functional and appropriate manner. Three themes identified were: Stalker Behaviour, Impact of Stalking on the Victim, and Victim Response. Additionally, the use and impact of coercive control by ex-intimate partners during the period of stalking, were important components affecting the emotional responses of victims, as illustrated through the stories they told. The findings support previous theories that being stalked can have a significant detrimental impact on a person’s mental health. The findings offer further insight into the manner in which that emotional impact can occur, and may pave the way for future research into victim response, coercive control and possible deficits in emotional processing and difficulties with emotional regulation, during and after a stalking experience. Limitations and Recommendations: Narrative research is suited to a small sample size, and this study was limited due to the small amount of participants involved. It was also restricted geographically to one location and to a female gender. Further research will be valuable to move beyond these limitations and provide additional insight into an area where there remains much to be discovered about the emotional impact of stalking.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Clinical Science (DClinSci))
Thesis advisor: Reed, Debbie
Thesis advisor: Brennan, Anne-Maria
Thesis advisor: Cucchi, Angie
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.91731
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2021 08:40 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2021 10:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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