[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Medical News & Perspectives
August 1, 2001

Stalking Disrupts Lives, Leaves Emotional Scars

Author Affiliations

Not Available

Not Available

JAMA. 2001;286(5):519-523. doi:10.1001/jama.286.5.519

New Orleans—Being followed, approached, and harassed by unwanted phone calls, letters, or even gifts makes people feel exposed, threatened, and powerless. Stalking violates boundaries of personal space. Anyone potentially is at risk.

People who are stalked often drastically alter many aspects of their daily lives. They may take different routes to and from work each day. Some leave their jobs because their stalker's behavior disrupts their own and others' work. They may curtail going to movies, religious services, and other public events. Some move to another city or country, diminishing contact with families and friends. Some develop anxiety disorders and increase their drinking and smoking. One in three is physically and/or sexually assaulted by the stalker. One in four ruminates about or attempts suicide. A few have been murdered.