Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 189–199 | Cite as

Partner Covictimization and Post-Breakup Stalking, Pursuit, and Violence: A Retrospective Study of College Women

  • Jennifer Katz
  • Hillary Rich
Original Article


Covictimization involves experiencing both physical and sexual forms of intimate partner violence (IPV). It was hypothesized that covictimization during a dating relationship would predict stalking, ongoing pursuit, and continued partner violence after the relationship ended. Undergraduate women (N = 99) provided self-report data regarding experiences of IPV both during and after their most recent breakup and ongoing pursuit after the breakup. As expected, covictimized women reported elevated rates of post-breakup IPV, both physical and sexual. In addition, covictimized women reported elevated rates of ongoing pursuit involving intimidation/threats, but not involving approach/contact or surveillance. Ongoing intimidation/threat pursuit was also associated with post-breakup IPV, even after controlling for pre-breakup IPV. Covictimized women are at risk for continued intimidation and violence from ex-partners.


Dating violence Relationship termination Physical assault Sexual coercion 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Monica Schneider and Vanessa Tirone for their comments on this project.


  1. Abbey, A., BeShears, R., Clinton-Sherrod, A. M., & McAuslan, P. (2004). Similarities and differences in women’s sexual assault experiences based on tactics used by the perpetrator. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 28(4), 323–332. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2004.00149.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bell, M. E., Goodman, L. A., & Dutton, M. A. (2009). Variations in help-seeking, battered women’s relationship course, emotional well-being, and experiences of abuse over time. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33(2), 149–162. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2009.01485.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Black, M. C., Basile, K. C., Breiding, M. J., Smith, S. G., Walters, M. L., Merrick, M. T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M. R. (2011). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey (NISVS): 2010 summary report. Atlanta: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Google Scholar
  4. Brownridge, D. A. (2006). Violence against women post-separation. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 11(5), 514–530. doi: 10.1016/j.avb.2006.01.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brownridge, D. A., Chan, K. L., Murphy-Hierber, D., Ristock, J., Tiwari, A., Leung, W. C., & Santos, S. C. (2008). The elevated risk for non-lethal post-separation violence in Canada: a comparison of separated, divorced, and married women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23(1), 117–135. doi: 10.1177/0886260507307914.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burman, S. (2003). Battered women: stages of change and other treatment models that instigate and sustain leaving. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 3(1), 83–98. doi: 10.1093/brief-treatment/mhg004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chapin, J., & Coleman, G. (2012). Optimistic bias about dating/relationship violence among teens. Journal of Youth Studies, 15(5), 645–655. doi: 10.1080/13676261.2012.665440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coker, A. L., Smith, P. H., McKeown, R. E., & King, M. J. (2000). Frequency and correlates of intimate partner violence by type: physical, sexual, and psychological battering. American Journal of Public Health, 90(4), 553–559. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.90.4.553.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coleman, F. L. (1997). Stalking behavior and the cycle of domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12(3), 420–428. doi: 10.1177/088626097012003007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cupach, W. R., & Spitzberg, B. H. (2000). Obsessive relational intrusion: incidence, perceived severity, and coping. Violence and Victims, 15(4), 357–372.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Davis, K. E., & Frieze, I. H. (2000). Research on stalking: what do we know and where do we go? Violence and Victims, 15(4), 473–487.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis, K. E., Ace, A., & Andra, M. (2000). Stalking perpetrators and psychological maltreatment of partners: anger-jealousy, attachment insecurity, need for control, and break-up context. Violence and Victims, 15(4), 407–425.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. DeGue, S., & DiLillo, D. (2004). Understanding the perpetrators of nonphysical sexual coercion: characteristics of those who cross the line. Violence and Victims, 19(6), 673–688. doi: 10.1891/vivi.19.6.673.66345.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dennison, S. M., & Stewart, A. (2006). Facing rejection: new relationships, broken relationships, shame, and stalking. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 50(3), 324–337. doi: 10.1177/0306624X05278077.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dietz, N. A., & Martin, P. A. (2007). Women who are stalked: questioning the fear standard. Violence Against Women, 13(7), 750–776. doi: 10.1177/1077801207302698.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dutton, L. B., & Winstead, B. A. (2006). Predicting unwanted pursuit: attachment, relationship satisfaction, relationship alternatives, and break-up distress. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23(4), 565–586. doi: 10.1177/0265407506065984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fox, K. A., Gover, A. R., & Kaukinen, C. (2009). The effect of low self-control and childhood maltreatment on stalking victimization among men and women. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 34(3–4), 181–197. doi: 10.1007/s12103-009-9064-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goetz, A. T., & Shackelford, T. K. (2009). Sexual coercion in intimate relationships: a comparative analysis of the effects of women’s infidelity and men’s dominance and control. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38(2), 226–234. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9353-x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Graham-Kevan, N., & Archer, J. (2008). Does controlling behavior predict physical aggression and violence to partners? Journal of Family Violence, 23(7), 539–548. doi: 10.1007/s10896-008-9162-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Haugaard, J. L., & Seri, L. G. (2003). Stalking and other forms of intrusive contact after the dissolution of adolescent dating or romantic relationships. Violence and Victims, 18(3), 279–297. doi: 10.1891/vivi.2003.18.3.279.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Johnson, D. M., & Zlotnick, C. (2006). A cognitive-behavioral treatment for battered women with PTSD in shelters: findings from a pilot study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 19(4), 559–564. doi: 10.1002/jts.20148.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Katz, J., Moore, J. A., & May, P. (2008). Physical and sexual covictimization from dating partners: a distinct type of interpersonal abuse? Violence Against Women, 14(8), 961–980. doi: 10.1177/1077801208320905.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Katz, J., Tirone, V., & Schukrafft, M. (2012). Verbal sexual coercion in young adult heterosexual dating relationships. In P. Lundberg-Lund, K. Nadal, & M. Paludi (Eds.), Women and mental disorders (pp. 53–70). Santa Barbara: Praeger.Google Scholar
  24. Krebs, C., Breiding, M. J., Browne, A., & Warner, T. (2011). The association between different types of intimate partner violence experienced by women. Journal of Family Violence, 26(6), 487–500. doi: 10.1007/s10896-011-9383-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Palarea, R. E., Cohen, J., & Rohling, M. L. (2000). Breaking up is hard to do: unwanted pursuit behaviors following the dissolution of a romantic relationship. Violence and Victims, 15(1), 73–90.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Logan, T. K., & Cole, J. (2011). Exploring the intersection of partner stalking and sexual abuse. Violence Against Women, 17(7), 904–924. doi: 10.1177/1077801211412715.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Logan, T. K., Shannon, L., & Cole, J. (2007). Stalking victimization in the context of intimate partner violence. Violence and Victims, 22(6), 669–683. doi: 10.1891/088667007782793147.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McCann, J. T. (1998). Subtypes of stalking (obsessional following) in adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 21(6), 667–675. doi: 10.1006/jado.1998.0187.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McEwan, T., Mullen, P. E., & Purcell, R. (2007). Identifying risk factors in stalking: a review of current research. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 30(1), 1–9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2006.03.005.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Meloy, J. R. (1997). The clinical risk management of stalking: “someone is watching over me…”. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 51(2), 174–184.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Mullen, P. E., Pathé, M., & Purcell, R. (2009). Stalkers and their victims. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Patton, C. L., Nobles, M. R., & Fox, K. A. (2010). Look who's stalking: Obsessive pursuit and attachment theory. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(3), 282–290. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2010.02.013.
  33. Rennison, C. M., DeKeseredy, W. S., & Dragiewicz, M. (2012). Urban, suburban, and rural variations in separation/divorce rape/sexual assault: results from the national crime victimization survey. Feminist Criminology, 7(4), 282–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rhatigan, D. L., & Street, A. E. (2005). The impact of intimate partner violence on decisions to leave dating relationships: a test of the investment model. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20(12), 1580–1597. doi: 10.1177/0886260505280344.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Roberts, K. A. (2005). Associated characteristics of stalking following the termination of romantic relationships. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 1(1), 15–35.Google Scholar
  36. Sabina, C., & Straus, M. A. (2008). Polyvictimization by dating partners and mental health among U.S. college students. Violence and Victims, 23(6), 667–682. doi: 10.1891/0886-6708.23.6.667.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sheridan, L., & Lyndon, A. E. (2012). The influence of prior relationship, gender, and fear on the consequences of stalking victimization. Sex Roles, 66(5–6), 340–350. doi: 10.1007/s11199-010-9889-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sinclair, H. C., & Frieze, I. H. (2000). Initial courtship behavior and stalking: where do we draw the line? Violence and Victims, 15(1), 23–40.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith, P. H., White, J. W., & Holland, J. L. (2003). A longitudinal perspective on dating violence among adolescent and college-age women. American Journal on Public Health, 93(7), 1104–1109. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.93.7.1104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Straus, M. A. (2004a). Prevalence of violence against dating partners by male and female university students worldwide. Violence Against Women, 10(7), 790–811. doi: 10.1177/1077801204265552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Straus, M. A. (2004b). Cross-cultural reliability and validity of the revised conflict tactics scales: a study of university students in 17 nations. Cross-Cultural Research, 38(4), 407–432. doi: 10.1177/1069397104269543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Boney-McCoy, S., & Sugarman, D. B. (1996). The revised conflict tactics scale (CTS2): development and preliminary psychometric data. Journal of Family Issues, 17(3), 283–316. doi: 10.1177/019251396017003001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Thomas, S. D. M., Purcell, R., Pathé, M., & Mullen, P. E. (2008). Harm associated with stalking victimization. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 42(9), 800–806. doi: 10.1080/00048670802277230.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Thompson, C. M., Dennison, S. M., & Stewart, A. (2012). Are female stalkers more violent than male stalkers? Understanding gender differences in stalking violence using contemporary sociocultural beliefs. Sex Roles, 66(5–6), 351–365. doi: 10.1007/s11199-010-9911-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (1998). Prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women: findings from the national violence against women survey. Research in Brief Google Scholar
  46. Tjaden, P., Thoennes, N., & Allison, C. J. (2000). Comparing stalking victimization from legal and victim perspectives. Violence and Victims, 15(1), 7–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Vatnar, S. K. B., & Bjørkly, S. (2012). Does separation or divorce make any difference? An interactional perspective on intimate partner violence with focus on marital status. Journal of Family Violence, 27(1), 45–54. doi: 10.1007/s10896-011-9400-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Williams, S. L., & Frieze, I. H. (2005). Courtship behaviors, relationship violence, and breakup persistence in college men and women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29(3), 248–257. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2005.00219.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySUNY College at GeneseoGeneseoUSA

Personalised recommendations