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Books, Journals, New Media
May 2, 2001

StalkersStalkers and Their Victims

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


by Paul E. Mullen, Michele Pathé, and Rosemary Purcell, 310 pp, $42.95, ISBN 0-521-66950-2, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

JAMA. 2001;285(17):2256-2257. doi:10.1001/jama.285.17.2256-JBK0502-3-1

Stalking is defined as the unwanted or surreptitious following of a victim for the purposes of harassment or other criminal activity. Awareness of stalking increased in the 1980s when several highly publicized cases catapulted the phenomenon into the public consciousness, notably, the 1980 murder of John Lennon by an obsessed fan, John Hinckley's attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981, and harassment of the actress Jodie Foster.

In reality the phenomenon of stalking dates far back in history. Centuries of literature have portrayed individuals with obsessional attachments, romantic or otherwise, to specific individuals. In many instances the victim was a woman identified as a love object by a male stalker. Since the 1980s, however, awareness of stalking as a form of harassment and criminal activity has greatly increased, with enactment of antistalking laws in most US states.

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