Date of Conferral







Wayne A. Wallace


Despite the push to criminalize stalking, many of the actions that would legally fall under these provisions do not materialize into stalking-based arrests or convictions as stalking frequently becomes a lesser included offense under charges that escalate into violence. Insight into offender pathways related to predatory pursuit could serve to inform individuals faced with the forensic challenges of legal decision-making. The dynamics of stalking behavior include elements of fantasy and attachment. The objective of this study was to examine patterns of violent sexual fantasies and relational paraphilic attachment (RPA) in an offender’s process of stalking preselected victims. The research question asked what drives the stalker to pursue a relationship with their victim, and how fantasies play into their process. Hickey’s RPA theory served as the theoretical framework. A purposeful sample of 30 community-based convicted stalkers with sexual components to their crimes of conviction participated. Q methodology was used as a qualitativequantitative integrated research approach. Data were collected through a Q sort activity on an internet-based software interface. Factor analysis enabled the examination of processing patterns across participant experiences. Eight principal components presented in the data analysis. The 2 highest loading factors were analyzed as latent concepts that emerged in the data. The data analysis and results demonstrated patterns in the participant stalking behavior that focused on a fantasy-driven process and an RPA-driven process. The resulting factor interpretations could inform victims and legal decision makers in their efforts to decipher the behavior presented to them leading to positive social change.

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