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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Donald Arwood


The purpose of this research was to develop and test a sociological theory of university students' attitudes toward unwanted pursuit behaviors (UPBs). Specifically, this study focused on the extent to which gender, reflected appraisals, character identities, value identities, romance self-efficacy, and romance importance can explain differences in attitudes toward morally questionable tactics used to pursue a person of interest. A review of stalking and obsessive relational intrusion (ORI) literature indicated difficulties and inconsistencies in both defining and measuring stalking. Overall, the ORI literature indicated that gender, the relationship existing between pursuer and object, and psychological disorders are related to the types of behavior and prevalence of obsessive relational intrusion. This study suggests that attitudes toward unwanted pursuit behaviors are grounded social psychological realities and not the psychiatric ones depicted in the ORI literature. The most important finding of this research is that acceptability of unwanted pursuit behaviors varies by gender. And this gender difference is related with importance of romance, romance self-efficacy, character identities, and attractiveness. The relationship between romance importance and attitudes toward unwanted pursuit behaviors is stronger for men. The relationship between romance self-efficacy and attitudes about unwanted pursuit behaviors is stronger for men as well. The relationship between character identity and acceptability of unwanted pursuit behaviors is stronger for women. The relationship between attractiveness and acceptability of unwanted pursuit behaviors is also stronger for women. Lastly, theoretical implications are discussed and recommendations for further study are suggested.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Interpersonal relations
College students -- Attitudes




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