The British Journal of Psychiatry
Lifetime prevalence and impact of stalking in a European population
Epidemiological data from a middle-sized German city


Background There is a lack of community-based studies on prevalence rates of stalking and the impact of stalking on victims in European countries.

Aims To examine lifetime and point prevalence rates of stalking, behavioural and psychological consequences for victims, and the impact of stalking on current psychological well-being in a German community sample.

Method A postal survey was conducted with a sample randomly selected from the population of a middle-sized German city; 679 people (400 women, 279 men) responded. The survey included a stalking questionnaire and the WHO-5 well-being scale.

Results Almost 12% of the respondents (n = 78, 68 women, 10 men) reported having been stalked. A multiple regression analysis revealed a significant effect of victimisation on psychological well-being.

Conclusions This study identified a high lifetime prevalence of stalking in the community. Effects on victims' psychological health are significant, suggesting that the phenomenon deserves more attention in future community mental health research.

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