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The authors use logistic regression with the National Violence Against Women Survey sample (N = 8,000) to explore patterns in fear reported by women who ...

Women Who Are Stalked Questioning the Fear Standard

Violence Against Women Volume 13 Number 7 July 2007 750-776 © 2007 Sage Publications 10.1177/1077801207302698 hosted at

Noella A. Dietz University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Patricia Yancey Martin Florida State University

The authors use logistic regression with the National Violence Against Women Survey sample (N = 8,000) to explore patterns in fear reported by women who were stalked. One fourth of our sample felt no fear, with Black women significantly less likely to report fear (compared to White women). Women who were frequently stalked, stalked by an intimate or family member or acquaintance, or stalked by physical or communicative means reported feeling fearful more than did others. Requiring a woman to feel fearful before accepting her experience as an instance of stalking risks, the authors conclude, a miscarriage of justice, an undercount of the crime, and an abandonment of women (and others) who need validation from the state and protection from stalkers. Keywords:


fear; stalker–victim relationship; stalking

his article explores the correlates of fear among women who have been stalked. By using a large national sample, we hope to increase understanding of the crime of stalking, particularly in relation to the requirement that stalking victims must admit to feeling fearful (or threatened) for their experiences to be validated by the authorities. Stalking is defined by Tjaden and Thoennes (2000), whose data we use, as having been “followed or harassed on more than one occasion” and as having been “very fearful.” Yet all women who are stalked may not feel fearful as a result. Perhaps some forms of stalking prompt fear more than others, or perhaps some women—of certain ages, education levels, employment statuses, marital statuses, or racial/ethnic statuses—feel fear more than others do (cf. Dunn, 2002). Being stalked by particular people (e.g., a former husband or partner) may be more apt to prompt fear. Our results show that most women who are stalked feel fear, although nearly one fourth do not. Therefore, the primary goal of our article is to question the fear standard in official definitions of stalking that render it a crime. We also seek to enhance understanding of the social and cultural conditions generally associated with feelings of fear among crime victims. Some scholars allege that fear of crime is a serious social problem, irrespective of the odds of becoming a victim. This claim is especially true for White women who


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tend to be more fearful of crime, despite evidence showing White women are less likely to be crime victims relative to women (and men) of color (Chiricos, Eschholz, & Gertz, 1997). Where does fear of crime originate? Is it warranted? Girls and women are socialized to be fearful of strange men, dangerous places, doing things alone at night, and so forth as part of what it means to be a girl or a woman. Some women live in an ongoing state of emotional unease about their safety (Madriz, 1997b), a condition that has consequences both for them and for society. Whereas fearing for one’s safety may be rational in some circumstances, being too fearful can restrict one’s activities and opportunities for education, productive work, recreation, and life satisfaction. As some scholars have shown, women who abandon public spaces due to fear leave them to men, relinquish control over their own lives, and foster the very threat they intend to avoid (Hollander, 2004; Stanko, 1993). But some women who are stalked do not feel fear. As we know, different people respond differently to the same situation. This is true of crime victimization as well as other experiences. According to Hollander (2000), Examining patterns in fear suggests how the threat of violence differently affects the lives of social groups—most obviously women and men, but also groups defined by race, ethnicity, sexual identity, age, and physical ability—highlighting the social structural nature of fear and violence. (p. 193)

Our goal is to examine patterns in fear relative to stalking to explore why all women who are stalked fail to feel fearful. If some stalking victims have no fear, should fear be a required standard for defining the crime? We conclude not. Of all violent crimes against persons, only stalking requires victims to say they feel fear—or threat—for their experience to qualify as having been a victim. The standard that requires stalking victims to report feeling fear or threat differentiates stalking from other violent crimes, including rape, robbery, domestic violence, assault, and murder. Although victims of the latter crimes may be fearful, laws do not require them to feel fear to affirm that the crime occurred (Dunn, 2002). Our results show about one fourth of adult women who have been stalked failed to respond to the experience by becoming fearful. How can that be? Perhaps the woman herself is the answer; for example, younger women may feel fear less because of the arrogance of youth or because of their romanticization of “forcible interaction” (on women undergraduates, see Dunn, 1999; Phillips, Quirk, Rosenfeld, & O’Connor, 2004). Perhaps White women fear more than do other women because of the media’s greater attention to violence against White women compared to women of other races/ethnicities (Chiricos et al., 1997; Chiricos, Padgett, & Gertz, 2000). We explore these and other possibilities. Our study makes several contributions. First, our findings challenge the wisdom of requiring stalking victims to feel fearful before affirming their claim of having been stalked. If some women are “behaviorally” stalked but fail to feel fearful,


Violence Against Women

should society tell them they were not stalked? This practice tells them they are incompetent to run their own lives and may place their physical and/or emotional security in jeopardy. Stalking is not necessarily harmless simply because its targets are unafraid. Our results can offer guidance to the legal system about how to revise both the definitions of and the responses to stalking. If fear is less than a sure effect of being stalked, new standards should be considered. In this respect, our results challenge the use of a target’s fear as a basis for classifying stalking experiences as crimes. If “sustained following or harassment” occurs to the point of disrupting one’s life, should it not be viewed as a crime irrespective of whether the targeted woman feels fearful? Perhaps a woman feels disgust or irritation or anger but not fear. Should a target not have recourse to official interdiction to challenge the behavior (Dunn, 2002)? Must a rape victim feel fearful to have a nonconsensual sexual attack count as rape? The standard that a target of stalking must feel fear is problematic, our results suggest. Second, we identify conditions that are associated with experiencing fear. Not enough is known about the relatively “new” crime of stalking, and our results speak to debates about how to define and respond to it. Three, our results address the social construction of the emotion of fear. According to Hochschild (1983) and other sociologists (e.g., Simon & Nath, 2004), fear—like many other emotions—is socially produced. Some situations prompt feelings of fear more than others do, and some categories of people feel fearful more than others. What and who are they, relative to stalking? If some women report feeling fearful whereas others do not, despite having similar experiences, perhaps we can identify the social and cultural conditions that prompt this result. Dunn’s (1999) finding that many college women view some forms of stalking as signs of positive regard confirms that not all stalking experiences are responded to with fear. In addition, some sorority women felt flattered by “stalking” attention from their boyfriends (cf. Phillips et al., 2004). Our findings can shed light on the social conditions under which stalking is constructed by some targets as more or less fear generating and on the qualities of individuals that are associated with feeling fearful. Finally, our results offer insights into how criminal standards may unintentionally foster social injustice. Women who are stalked but fail to say they feel fearful are less apt to be protected by the criminal justice system, yet they may be as likely to have their lives disrupted and their safety compromised. Women very likely feel many emotions on being stalked, and requiring them to feel fear to receive official support may reflect a cultural standard that applies more to the lives of middle-class White women than to women of color and/or women in lower socioeconomic statuses. A supposedly class- and race-neutral standard for the crime of stalking may be biased in favor of some categories of people and against others. We address this possibility. The article is organized as follows. First, we review definitions of stalking and discuss its uniqueness as a felony crime. Next, we summarize research on women, men, and fear of crime to highlight White women’s greater fear of crime relative to

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women of color. Hypotheses about the impact of stalking on feelings of fear are presented, followed by a review of our data, methods, and findings. Our results show that women who are stalked more frequently, stalked by intimates (vs. strangers), and stalked by physical (vs. other) means report feeling fearful more than other women do. However, our results also show Black women report feeling fear less often than do White women, and widowed women report feeling fear less from stalking than do single women. Finally, college-educated women report feeling more fearful compared to high school graduates (or those with less education). Our discussion explores implications of the findings for understanding women’s experiences of stalking, for defining the crime of stalking, for the criminal justice system, and for the sociology of fear relative to criminal victimization.

Background Until the 1990s, stalking was not widely viewed as a social problem (Morewitz, 2003; Mullen, Pathe, & Purcell, 2000). Indeed, although many people experienced it, officials considered its targets to be recipients of “unwanted attention” or “emotional harassment,” not victims of a felony crime (Lowney & Best, 1995). After several high-profile media cases showed targets of stalking were not only harassed but also subjected to violence or threats of violence, stalking began to be viewed with alarm and, ultimately, was defined as a felony (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2002). Over time, activists, officials, and the media successfully made claims that stalking is a form of violence even though no physical attack is involved. By framing stalking as a violent act and directing the public’s attention to its harmful character, stalking became defined as a social problem (Dunn, 2002; Lowney & Best, 1995). Like rape and domestic violence, most stalkers are men and most victims, or targets, of stalkers are women (Purcell, Pathe, & Mullen, 2001). Although the crimes of rape and domestic assault can be legally validated regardless of whether the target recognizes these events as crimes, stalking is more problematic. To warrant a legal response, the repeated actions of following or harassing a target must constitute a “reasonable threat” or “credible threat” to the target. That is, a person who is stalked must experience threat, which is generally interpreted to mean fear, as in fear for one’s life, safety, or well-being or fear for the safety of one’s family. Different from rape or assault, where direct physical contact is involved, stalking entails no physical contact, although the victim is presumed to not want the attention. In stalking, not wanting the attention is not enough; the victim must tell authorities that she or he felt fearful or threatened because of being repeatedly harassed or followed. This is a required standard in many legal definitions of stalking. A stalker’s actions qualify as stalking only when three conditions are met: (a) the perpetrator follows or harasses repeatedly, (b) the behavior is unwanted, and (c) the target experiences threat, as evidenced by admitting to feeling fearful.


Violence Against Women

Several issues complicate both the identification and response to stalking. For instance, as noted already, some women who are stalked do not view the experience as criminal (cf. Fisher et al., 2002; Fremouw, Westrup, & Pennypacker, 1997). Second, a stalker’s uninvited following and/or harassing must be repeated for the practice to qualify as a crime; that is, a single instance fails to qualify as criminal. Although this standard sounds reasonable, it is complex. Is a stalker who continuously lurks around a woman’s home for two days perpetrating one act or repeated acts? This issue is unclear legally and in the scholarly literature. Where one incident ends and another begins is not always discernable.

Defining Stalking The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), defines stalking under the heading of Crimes Against Persons, under Assault Offenses, under the section of Intimidation. The definitions created for the NIBRS are not meant for use in charging people with an offense but rather in classifying and tallying crimes (U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, 2000). The FBI defines stalking as “to unlawfully place another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack” (U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, 2000, p. 23). This particular definition does not include the repeated incidents criterion that many state laws include. Although no antistalking legislation exists at the federal level, the federal government in 1996 passed the Interstate Stalking Punishment and Prevention Act to prohibit an individual from traveling across state lines with the intent to stalk (U.S. Department of Justice, 1998). By passing this act, the government strengthened the antistalking statutes of the states by filling a gap in the legal system for prosecuting stalkers (U.S. Department of Justice, 1998). Specific antistalking statutes are the responsibility of states (and local government), with federal participation only in interstate cases. Defining an activity as criminal requires development of a framework for deciding whether it occurs. Most stalking definitions encompass practices, time, and threat, according to Meloy (1998). Meloy identifies three main criteria: 1) a pattern (course of conduct) of behavioral intrusion upon another person that is unwanted; 2) an implicit or explicit threat that is evidenced in the pattern of behavioral intrusion; and 3) due to behavioral intrusions, the person who is threatened experiences reasonable fear. (p. 2)

These elements are reflected, for instance, in California law that defines a stalker as any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable

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fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family. (Kienlen, Birmingham, Solberg, O’Regan, & Meloy, 1997)

Whereas the California statute originally required the target to have “reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm” (Mullen et al., 2000, p. 255), objections to the fear criterion influenced the legislature to drop it so that offenders whose targets did not experience “fear of death” could be prosecuted. Statutes differ from one state to another, but most retain some version of a fear standard in the target’s response to being stalked.

Women and Fear of Crime Our focus on fear of crime reflects both research evidence and feminist theorizing about women’s subordinate status and their vulnerability to men’s (and boys’) violence (MacKinnon, 1987, 1989; Martin, 2005; Messerschmidt, 2000; Mustaine & Tewksbury, 2002). Women are frequent targets of men’s violence, but they are not the most targeted group. Most violent crimes are perpetrated by men against men (Britton, 2000). Despite this pattern, women fear being crime victims more than men do, and most violence against women is committed by men (Bart & Moran, 1993; Gately & Martin, 2000). Furthermore, White, middle-class women fear being a crime victim more than women of color do, despite having lower victimization rates (Chiricos et al., 1997; Chiricos et al., 2000). Images in popular culture and the media depict White, middle-class women as the typical violent crime victim, perhaps imparting a message that other women (and men?) are safe from attack. Women of color and women from less affluent circumstances are less afraid of crime but are more prevalently victims of it (Chiricos et al., 1997). Furthermore, media representations and cultural stereotypes imply that violence is mostly random, committed by strangers (Best, 2000; Hollander, 2000), thus telling women to fear strangers, not their husbands, partners, dates, or former intimates (Madriz, 1997a). As a result, women’s fear of crime focuses on people whom they do not know, who may jump out of hiding to attack them. Yet women are most at risk for violent assaults in private spaces from individuals they know, particularly intimates or ex-intimates (Hollander, 2004; Saunders, 2002). Women’s intimate male partners represent danger more than strangers do, by far (Stanko, 1993, 2000). This pattern also holds for stalking (Dietz, 2003; Morewitz, 2003). Women’s fear of crime has important implications for them, their relations to men, and society. Perceived dangers limit the jobs women choose, their interactions in public, their leisure, and their professional activities. For instance, fearful women refrain from going out at night, taking trips alone, and doing other activities, meaning that their mobility and lifestyles are constrained (Bjerregaard, 2000; Hollander, 2004). Men as a group benefit from these dynamics because the night and public spaces become their sole domain by default, allowing them to pursue a broader range


Violence Against Women

of activities (Hollander, 2000, 2004; Madriz, 1997b). Men enjoy greater control of public spaces during more hours of the day and night. Gordon and Riger (1989) argue that women’s fear of crime is a fear of rape, which translates into women’s fear of men (cf. Stanko, 1993). The socialization process for girls teaches them to be wary of strange men; to monitor their comings and goings; to avoid giving the “wrong” messages with their clothing, smiles, and mannerisms; and to feel afraid. Fear is a good thing, girls are taught. Girls are particularly prodded to fear rape (Hollander, 2004; Madriz, 1997a; Stanko, 1993). Women and girls are taught they are vulnerable to men’s and boys’ violence. For example, feeling vulnerable to violence and injury is part of emphasized femininity, of girls’ and women’s gendered identities, according to gender scholars (e.g., Connell, 1987). Men and boys, in contrast, are taught to stand up for themselves and to use violence as a cultural resource to gain control or obtain desired goals (Messerschmidt, 2000). Women’s identities thus encourage feelings of vulnerability and fear (Hollander, 2004), and, as Taslitz (1999) claims, patriarchal stories told both in and beyond the courtroom discourage them from actively resisting men’s violence.

Hypotheses and Rationales To identify correlates of fear among women who were stalked, we offer three hypotheses induced ad hoc from research on men’s violence toward women (Bart & Moran, 1993; Gately & Martin, 2000; Martin & Hummer, 1989) and from feminist theories about men’s violence toward women (e.g., MacKinnon, 1987, 1989; Martin, Reynolds, & Keith, 2002; Stanko, 1993). We expected women who are stalked more, who are stalked by people they know, and who are stalked in person (e.g., as opposed to by mail or telephone) to have fear more than other women. We asked if these patterns could account for feelings of fear in all women or if some women are affected by them less (or more) than others. We also asked if a woman’s age, social class, race/ethnicity, marital status, employment status, and income could predict her report of feeling fearful because of being stalked. Our first hypothesis is that women who endure quantitatively more stalking experiences will report fear more than women who endure fewer stalking experiences. Hypothesis 1 suggests that extensive unwanted experiences with stalking will prompt fear more than limited experiences will. If it happens only a few times, the target may not think much about it. If it repeatedly happens, she may become fearful. Thus, fear may be a response, as legal definitions imply, to a sustained experience of being harassed or followed against one’s wishes, not a one-time experience. Our second hypothesis is that women who are stalked by intimates (current or ex-spouses, partners, boyfriends, or other family member) will report fear more than women who are stalked by strangers. Hypothesis 2 reflects research on stalkers that shows ex-intimate male partners to be the modal perpetrator of this crime (Dunn,

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2002; Mullen et al., 2000). Terminating a relationship often triggers stalking (Morrison, 2001; Saunders, 2002), as it does escalated violence in domestic battery cases. Furthermore, women who are stalked by male ex-intimates are subjected to more harassment and a wider range of harassing behaviors, including both physical and communicative forms (Mullen et al., 2000). We know some women also stalk, but, different from men stalkers, they tend to be far fewer in number and to focus on their therapists, physicians, or other persons whom they admire, including teachers or other professionals (Purcell et al., 2001). Women seldom stalk strangers. Our third hypothesis is that women who are stalked by physical means (e.g., following, showing up at work) will report fear more than women who are stalked by other methods. Hypothesis 3 predicts that being stalked by direct physical means will prompt a target’s fear more than being stalked in other ways. Although being stalked by telephone calls or letters or having one’s property vandalized can be upsetting, it less readily implies immediate physical harm, whereas following and being spied on may tell a target that she is genuinely at risk.

Research Method Sample and Data The data are from the National Violence Against Women (NVAW) Survey, designed to document violence against women and women’s experiences with violence (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). The data were collected in 1995 to 1996 in a project sponsored by the National Institute for Justice and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control. A nationally representative sample of adults 18 years of age or older living in U.S. households were interviewed by telephone, with interviews completed for 8,000 women (and 8,000 men), regarding data on crime and safety, demographic characteristics, emotional and mental health descriptors, alcohol and drug consumption, past and current relationship status, emotional abuse, physical assault, sexual assault, and stalking. Respondents were screened to ascertain if they had ever been targets of violence, and, if so, they were asked about the incidents they experienced, including what happened and the effects of each victimization. Only women are analyzed in this study.1 Table 1 shows that 81% of the sample of women are White and 10% are Black; 92% are non-Hispanic and 8% are Hispanic.2 The mean age of women is 45 years. Regarding marital status, 63% are married, 15% are single or never married, 13% are divorced or separated, and 9% are widowed. Also, 34% had a high school diploma, 29% had some college, and 25% had a college degree or more. Full-time employed women composed 46% of the sample, and part-time employed composed 13%. In addition, 15% were homemakers and 5% were students. Personal earned income averaged $21,180, and household income averaged $43,220.


n Ethnicity/race White Black Asian or Pacific Islander American Indian or Alaskan Mixed race Nonresponse Hispanic origin Yes No Nonresponse Age 18 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 65 or older Nonresponse Marital status Married Single, never married Divorced or separated Widowed Nonresponse


8 92

10 22 24 17 11 14 4 63 15 13 9 0.6

628 7,317 —

768 1,021 1,919 1,349 839 1,093 312

4,999 1,224 1,052 678 48

1,470 491 557 155 18

286 665 714 459 250 225 92

184 2,507 —

2,154 266 46 34 143 48

81 10 2 1 5 2

6,452 780 133 88 397 151

n 2,691

% Women

55 18 21 6 1

11 25 27 17 9 8 3

7 93

80 10 2 1 5 2

% Women

Stalked Ever



Total Sample

756 240 219 90 12

149 313 305 217 140 143 50

101 1,216 —

1,025 144 31 10 73 34



57 18 17 7 1

11 24 23 17 11 11 4

8 92

78 11 2 1 6 3

% Women

Stalked Once

Table 1 Distribution of Women by Stalking Incident

691 248 331 60 6

136 350 398 233 103 77 39

81 1,255 —

1,097 72 12 17 52 13



52 19 25 5 0.4

10 26 30 17 8 6 3

6 94

82 9 1 2 5 1

% Women

Stalked More Than Once

508 186 254 23 4

104 273 318 157 61 35 27

61 907 —

811 72 12 17 52 11



52 19 26 2 0.4

11 28 33 16 6 4 3

6 93

83 7 1 2 5 1

% Women

Stalking Fear


Education Some high school or less High school graduate Some college College graduate Postgraduate Nonresponse Employment status Employed full-time Employed part-time Unemployed or other Homemaker Retired Student Nonresponse Woman’s income None Less than $5,000 $5,001 to $10,000 $10,001 to $15,000 $15,001 to $20,000 $20,001 to $25,000 $25,001 to $35,000 $35,001 to $50,000 $50,001 to $80,000 $80,001 or more Nonresponse 11 34 29 17 8 1 46 13 4 15 15 5 3 4 13 10 11 9 8 10 9 4 2 21

856 2,752 2,336 1,360 659 38

3,678 1,009 278 1,233 1,176 357 269

326 1,005 812 842 736 597 826 719 329 124 1,685

80 355 302 296 258 211 301 285 112 45 446

1,321 350 123 354 259 171 113

234 806 887 495 259 10

3 13 11 11 10 8 11 11 4 2 17

49 13 5 13 10 6 4

9 30 33 18 10 0.4

51 165 160 144 107 98 152 123 53 20 244

610 171 52 179 163 89 53

124 409 418 224 135 7

4 13 12 11 8 7 12 9 4 2 19

46 13 4 14 12 7 4

9 31 32 17 10 1

27 186 139 147 148 111 147 159 57 25 190

694 173 69 170 90 80 60

107 384 453 266 123 3

2 14 11 11 11 8 11 12 4 2 14

52 13 6 13 7 6 5

8 29 34 20 9 0.2

24 143 96 115 98 84 109 117 41 19 129

504 131 55 132 43 63 47

71 272 345 195 89 3


3 15 9 12 10 9 11 12 4 2 13

52 13 6 14 4 7 5

7 28 35 20 9 0.3


Household income None Less than $5,000 $5,001 to $10,000 $10,001 to $15,000 $15,001 to $20,000 $20,001 to $25,000 $25,001 to $35,000 $35,001 to $50,000 $50,001 to $80,000 $80,001 or more Nonresponse


30 121 197 289 336 359 631 1,052 989 552 3,444


0.4 2 3 4 4 5 8 13 12 7 43

% Women

Total Sample

5 48 63 109 132 114 191 360 348 194 1,127


0.2 2 2 4 5 4 7 13 13 7 42

% Women

Stalked Ever

3 20 35 60 53 54 106 182 159 81 564


0.2 2 3 5 4 4 8 14 12 6 43

% Women

Stalked Once

Table 1 (continued)

2 28 27 49 76 59 85 177 184 112 537


0.1 2 2 4 6 4 6 13 14 8 40

% Women

Stalked More Than Once

2 24 19 37 52 49 64 128 141 85 374


0.2 3 2 4 5 5 7 13 15 9 38

% Women

Stalking Fear

Dietz, Martin / Stalking and Fear


Identifying targets. To determine if they had ever been stalked, two questions were asked, the second contingent on answers to the first. Respondents were asked, I would like to ask you some questions about following or harassment you may have experienced on more than one occasion by strangers, friends, relatives, or even husbands and partners. . . . Not including bill collectors, telephone solicitors, or other sales people, has anyone, male or female, ever. . . (mark all that apply): Followed you or spied on you? Sent you unsolicited letters or written correspondence? Made unsolicited phone calls to you? Stood outside your home, school, or workplace? Showed up at places you were even though he or she had no business being there? Left unwanted items for you to find? Tried to communicate with you in other ways against your will? Vandalized your property or destroyed something you loved?

Respondents who said yes to any of these behaviors (n = 2,691; see Table 1) were asked, “Has anyone ever done these things to you on more than one occasion?” Women who said yes to this question were considered to have been stalked and were administered the detailed questionnaire (n = 1,336). The definition of stalking used by Tjaden and Thoennes (2000) and supported by the National Institute of Justice calls for a pattern of harassment, meaning repeated experiences. Nearly all women who had been stalked were stalked by only one perpetrator (79%), with only 13% stalked by two or more (an additional 8% did not know or refused to say). Women who had been repeatedly stalked were asked if they experienced fear as a result. Because fear (of a “credible” or “reasonable” threat) is required by many state statutes, past studies have used a stringent definition that requires the targets of stalking to say they were “very frightened” by the experience. Because we are exploring aspects of stalking that prompt a woman to experience any fear (or not), we include in our study all 1,336 women who were repeatedly stalked regardless of whether the experience or experiences made them fearful. Our sample thus includes 975 women who were stalked and experienced a substantial or great amount of fear and 361 women who were stalked but experienced no fear.

Measures Fear. The question used to measure fear was, “How frightened were you by these things [the perpetrator] did to you?” with responses of very frightened, somewhat frightened, just a little frightened, and not really frightened. Results show that 502 women were very frightened, 309 were somewhat frightened, 164 were a little frightened, and 361 were not frightened; 73% were frightened at least somewhat, and 27% were not frightened. We created a dichotomous variable with experienced fear (1) and did not experience fear (0).


Violence Against Women

Number of stalking experiences. Number of stalking experiences is measured as a summed total of the number of stalking incidents to which a respondent was subjected, ranging from 1 to 22. Women reported all stalking behaviors done to them by a stalker, beginning with the perpetrator who came to mind first. We summed all such behaviors into an index reflecting the total number of stalking incidents experienced. Five was the modal number (15.4%), with a mean of 2.74. Stalker–target relationship. The stalker–target relationship was measured using women’s self-reported relationship to their stalker or stalkers when they knew it. In most cases, women knew who had stalked them, although 26% did not know. The categorical variables for the stalker–target relationship are spouse or partner, former spouse or partner, or male relative (intimate); boyfriend; acquaintance; female (otherwise unspecified); and stranger (gender unknown). Stranger served as the reference category. Stalking practices. Data on specific stalking practices were solicited with this question: “You said [the perpetrator] has followed or harassed you on more than one occasion. What exactly did he/she do?” We grouped 22 actions into three categories: physical monitoring (with following as the modal practice at 20%, stand outside at 16%, and spy on you at 15%); communication monitoring (the mode being unsolicited telephone calls at 21%); and other monitoring (including vandalize property, which was the modal practice at 7% for this category). The other stalking category also included behaviors such as trespass on property, threaten to kill pet, kill pet, and expose himself or herself to you. Stalkers engaged about equally in physical and communicative stalking (64% and 61%, respectively, and in other practices less often, 24%). For some analyses, we summed the total number of stalking behaviors overall, but for other analyses we used categorical variables reflecting types of stalking practices: physical stalking, communicative stalking, and other stalking, with other stalking as the reference category.

Demographic Characteristics Ethnicity/race. Respondents were asked if they were White, Black, Asian or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Native, or mixed race, although another item asked if they were Hispanic. We created dummy variables for these categories: Black, Asian, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and mixed race. White served as the reference category. Hispanic origin was categorized as Hispanic (1) or non-Hispanic (0). Age. Age was asked in years, and we analyzed it in continuous form. The mean was 41, with a mode of 35. (To test for curvilinearity, we squared age, but nonlinear effects were insubstantial.)

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Marital status. Marital status is measured as four categorical variables: married, widowed, divorced or separated, and single or never married, with single or never married as the reference category. Education. Women’s educational attainment is measured as total years of schooling completed. Categorical variables are high school or less, some college, and college degree or higher, with high school or less as the reference category. Employment status. Employment status is categorized as employed full-time, employed part-time, homemaker or retired, unemployed or other, and student, with student as the reference category. Income. Personal earned income and household income are measured as the midpoints of categories that we converted to continuous form. Because a large number of women failed to report income—21% failed to report personal income and 43% household income—we created an embedded variable for each measure to represent missing cases and account for nonrandom biases. The analysis revealed that women who failed to answer the income questions did not differ from those who did answer them.

Analysis Method We used logistic regression to predict fear from women’s demographic characteristics and experiences of stalking. Because of collinearity problems between number of stalking experiences and content or type of stalking experiences, separate models were run for these predictors. We used the p < .05 alpha level, unless otherwise indicated, and the data were unweighted.3

Results Demographic Correlates Data in Table 2 show variation among women who were stalked, relative to feeling fearful. For instance, compared to White women, Black women had less fear and Asian or Pacific Island women had more fear. The grand mean was 74% fearful, with 61% of Black women and 80% of Asian or Pacific Island women reporting fear. Hispanic women do not differ from the overall sample. As the logistic regression results show, Black women were less likely to experience fear, compared to White women, net of all other variables. Additional descriptive results show older women (55 and older), widowed women, women with high school or less education, and retired women were less apt to feel fearful. Although several studies of stalking focus on women college students


Ethnicity/race White Black Asian or Pacific Islander American Indian or Alaskan Mixed race Nonresponse Hispanic origin Yes No Nonresponse Age 18 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 65 or older Nonresponse Marital status Married Single or never married Divorced or separated Widowed Nonresponse


83 85 89 73 83 91 87 84

82 80 79 83 88 93 0 86 80 69 91 88

547 6,118 —

632 1,371 1,521 1,236 736 1,168 1

4,308 976 721 618 42

% Women

5,355 662 118 64 328 138


Not Stalkeda

183 62 77 37 2

32 77 80 81 42 49 —

20 341 —

286 46 3 7 17 2


4 5 7 6 4

11 25 27 17 9 8

3 5

4 5 2 8 4 1

% Women

Stalked With No Fearb

508 186 254 23 4

104 273 318 174 61 45 —

61 907 7

811 72 12 17 52 11


10 15 24 3 8

13 16 12 12 7 4

10 12 0

13 9 9 19 13 7

Stalked With Fearc

74 75 77 38 —

76 78 80 68 59 48 —

75 73 —

82 61 80 71 75 —

4,999 1,224 1,052 678 48

768 1,721 1,919 1,491 839 1,262 1

628 7,366 7

6,452 780 133 88 397 151

Percentage Fearful Among Total n for % Women Stalked Category

Table 2 Frequency Distribution of Women’s Demographic Characteristics for Women Who Were Not Stalked, Who Were Stalked With No Fear, and Who Were Stalked With Fear


Education Some high school or less High school graduate Some college College graduate Postgraduate Nonresponse Employment status Employed full-time Employed part-time Unemployed or other Homemaker Retired Student Nonresponse Woman’s income None Less than $5,000 $5,001 to $10,000 $10,001 to $15,000 $15,001 to $20,000 $20,001 to $25,000 $25,001 to $35,000 $35,001 to $50,000 $50,001 to $80,000 $80,001 or more Nonresponse 88 86 80 80 81 92 81 83 75 86 92 78 78 92 81 83 83 80 81 82 78 83 80 89

749 2,368 1,883 1,094 536 35

2,984 836 209 1,063 1,086 277 210

299 813 673 695 588 486 679 560 272 99 1,501

3 43 43 32 50 27 38 42 16 6 61

190 42 14 38 47 17 13

36 112 108 71 34 —

1 4 5 4 7 5 5 6 5 5 4

5 4 5 3 4 5 5

4 4 5 5 5

24 143 96 115 98 84 109 117 41 19 129

504 131 55 132 43 63 47

71 272 345 195 89 3

7 14 12 14 13 14 13 16 12 15 8

14 13 20 11 4 18 17

8 10 15 14 14 8

89 77 69 78 66 76 74 74 72 76 —

73 76 80 78 48 79 —

66 71 76 73 72 —


326 999 812 842 736 597 826 719 329 124 1,691

3,678 1,009 278 1,233 1,176 357 270

856 2,752 2,336 1,360 659 38


a. n = 6,665 (83.0%). b. n = 361 (4.5%). c. n = 975 (12.2%).

Household income None Less than $5,000 $5,001 to $10,000 $10,001 to $15,000 $15,001 to $20,000 $20,001 to $25,000 $25,001 to $35,000 $35,001 to $50,000 $50,001 to $80,000 $80,001 or more Nonresponse

Variable % Women

29 93 170 240 260 300 546 875 805 440 2,907

n Stalked

97 77 86 83 77 84 87 83 81 80 84

Not Stalkeda

0 4 8 12 24 10 21 49 43 27 163

% Women Category

0 3 4 4 7 3 3 5 4 5 5

Stalked With No Fearb

Table 2 (continued)

1 24 19 37 52 49 64 128 141 85 374


3 20 10 13 15 14 10 12 14 15 11

Stalked With Fearc

1 86 70 76 68 83 75 72 77 76 —

30 121 197 289 336 359 631 1,052 989 552 3,444

Percentage Fearful Among Total n for % Women n

Dietz, Martin / Stalking and Fear


(e.g., Fisher et al., 2002; Mustaine & Tewksbury, 2002), alleging their particular vulnerability to being stalked, students in this sample were no more fearful than other women, at the zero-order level. The only employment category that stands out is homemaker or retired women, with homemaker or retired women reporting fear less than women in other employment statuses (Table 2). Results for income are mixed for the bivariate associations, and no income effects are observed in the logistic regression analyses. Several zero-order effects are sustained in the multivariate analyses, however, as we report shortly.

Multivariate Results To ascertain whether fear follows from the particulars of stalking experiences, we predicted fear versus no fear in a multivariate analysis with the women’s demographic characteristics and their stalking experiences as predictors. For purposes of clarity, we present them in hypothesis form. Hypothesis 1: Women who endure quantitatively more stalking experiences will report feeling fear more than women who endure fewer stalking experiences.

Logistic regression results in Table 3 support Hypothesis 1 (see Model 2). Holding all other variables constant, women who endure more stalking experiences have fear significantly more than women who endure fewer such experiences. Having more stalking experiences increases women’s odds of feeling fearful by 54% (odds ratio [OR] = 1.541, p < .001), net of all other variables. Hypothesis 2: Women who are stalked by intimates (current or ex-spouses, partners, or other family members) will report fear more than women who are stalked by strangers.

Results in Table 3 (Models 2 and 3) support Hypothesis 2. Women stalked by intimates are 2.3 times more likely to experience fear than women stalked by a stranger (OR = 2.28, p < .001). Women stalked by “boyfriends” fail to report fear more than those stalked by strangers, although those stalked by acquaintances (OR = 2.25) feel fear more. Women stalked by a woman, regardless of the relationship, are 51% less likely to experience fear than women stalked by a stranger (1 – OR = 0.494, p < .05). The failure of boyfriends to produce more fear may reflect measurement error, as we note in the discussion. When the content of stalking practices was entered into the equation (omitting total stalking experiences; see Model 3), the results again support Hypothesis 2. That is, controlling for all other variables, women were 2.2 times more likely to experience fear if their stalker was an intimate (OR = 2.20, p < .001) and twice as likely to experience fear if stalked by an acquaintance (OR = 2.06, p < .001). Again, boyfriends did not prompt more fear, and, again, women stalkers prompted less fear. Women are 49% less likely to experience fear if stalked by a woman (1 – OR = 0.513, p < .05). In general, our results show that women’s fears of strangers


b Coeff.

n 8,000 Number of stalking experiences — Stalker–target relationship Intimatea — Boyfrienda — Acquaintancea — Femalea — Content of stalking practice Physical stalkingb — Communication stalkingb — Control variables Blackc –0.195* Asian, Native American, or mixedc 0.145 Hispanic (1 = yes, 0 = no) –0.418*** Age 0.101*** –0.258*** Marriedd Divorced or separatedd 0.742*** Widowedd –0.213 Some collegee 0.108*** College degree or highere 0.338*** Full–time employedf –0.287* Part–time employedf –0.199 Homemaker or retiredf –0.371** Unemployed or otherf 0.101 Women’s personal income 0.000


0.086 0.102 0.114 0.002 0.080 0.093 0.131 0.020 0.067 0.123 0.136 0.135 0.148 0.000


Model 1

0.823 1.156 0.658 0.990 0.773 2.099 0.808 1.114 1.402 0.751 0.820 0.690 1.107 1.000

Standardized b

–0.654** –0.183 0.202 –0.016** 0.155 0.185 –0.760 0.125* 0.420* –0.136 0.149 0.330 0.560 0.000

0.244 0.292 0.350 0.006 0.225 0.248 0.389 0.058 0.193 0.335 0.375 0.330 0.409 0.000

0.188 0.239 0.222 0.246

0.826*** 0.144 0.815*** –0.705** — —



1,336 0.432***

b Coeff.

Model 2

0.520 0.833 1.224 0.984 1.167 1.203 0.468 1.133 1.522 0.873 1.161 1.391 1.751 1.000

2.284 1.155 2.259 0.494


–0.689** –0.049 0.101 –0.014* 0.102 0.152 –0.861* 0.122* 0.410* –0.129 0.151 0.310 0.605 0.000

1.622*** 0.844***

0.788*** 0.021 0.727*** –0.667**

1,336 —

Standardized b b Coeff.

0.246 0.296 0.350 0.006 0.229 0.250 0.398 0.059 0.199 0.339 0.380 0.380 0.418 0.000

0.162 0.148

0.502 0.952 1.106 0.986 1.108 1.164 0.432 1.130 1.507 0.879 1.163 1.364 1.831 1.000

5.065 2.326

2.200 1.022 2.068 0.513

Standardized b

0.193 0.245 0.224 0.241


Model 3

Table 3 Logistic Regression Analyses of Women Ever Stalked and Women’s Experience of Fear: Models 1, 2, and 3


0.086 0.000 0.088


0.000 –0.051

a. Reference category is stranger. b. Reference category is other behavior. c. Reference category is White. d. Reference category is single or never married. e. Reference category is high school or less. f. Reference category is student. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.

Women’s embedded variable (1 = yes, 0 = no) Household income Household embedded variable (1 = yes, 0 = no) 1.000 0.950

0.782 0.000 –0.010

–0.041 0.000 0.246

0.256 1.000 0.990

0.960 0.000 –0.007

0.075 0.000 0.252

0.264 1.000 0.993



Violence Against Women

are less justified, at least relative to stalking, than their fears of intimates or exintimates (or family members). As noted earlier in the article, girls and women are most at risk of violence from men (or boys) they know, despite cultural myths that orient them to fear strangers. Hypothesis 3: Women who are stalked by physical means (following, showing up at work, etc.) will report fear more than women stalked by other methods.

The third hypothesis (see Model 3) is supported, although being stalked by communicative means (vs. other) also is significant. Both physical and communicative practices prompt fear more, with physical stalking most extensively prompting it. Women stalked by physical methods are 5 times more likely to experience fear than those stalked by other methods (OR = 5.06, p < .001), suggesting that being physically present against a woman’s wishes instills concern for her safety and creates feelings of “credible” threat. When stalked by communicative methods (e.g., telephones, letters), women reported fear twice as much as they did when stalked by other methods. Physical stalking is the most threatening, however.

Demographic Influences Net of Stalking Practices Net of the stalking particulars, Table 3 shows Black women report fear less than do White women. Black women are 48% less likely to report fear than are White women (in Model 2; 50% less likely in Model 3). No other racial/ethnic group significantly differed from White women in the full models. We view this result as meaningful and address it in our discussion. Other demographic predictors of fear that remained significant are age, marital status, and education. Consistent with the zero-order results, older women felt fear less than younger women did, by about 2%; as women age, fear declines by about 1.5% per year. Widowed women were less likely to experience fear from stalking, compared to single women (see Model 3; 1 – OR = 0.861), by approximately 14%. Education level predicts fear, net of other influences; women with some college are more likely (13%) to feel fearful than are women with a high school diploma or less. Furthermore, women with a college degree or higher are 52% and 51% more apt to feel fearful than women with a high school degree or less (Models 2 and 3). We address these findings below. Net of all other variables, in the full models, women’s employment status and income failed to predict fear.

Discussion Being a target of stalking prompted fear in nearly three fourths but failed to prompt fear in more than one fourth of our national sample of women. Fully one

Dietz, Martin / Stalking and Fear


fourth of women who were repeatedly followed or harassed did not feel fearful as a result. Experiences that frighten some women clearly do not frighten all women. Because many states’ statutory definitions of stalking use fear as a standard for determining whether a person was legally stalked, victims who fail to admit to feeling fearful may have lower odds of having their claims validated (cf. Dunn, 2002). For this and other reasons, we question the wisdom of requiring the targets of stalking to admit to feeling fearful. In support of this view, we find substantial variability on the fear criterion among women who have been stalked. To summarize, we found, as expected, that features of the stalking experience successfully predicted a target’s feelings of being fearful. Women who reported having had more experiences with stalking were more fearful; those stalked by a spouse, ex-spouse, ex-partner, male relative, or acquaintance were more fearful (than those stalked by strangers); and those stalked by physical or communicative means were more fearful (than those stalked by other means). Although we predicted physical stalking to prompt feelings of being fearful in targets, we did not anticipate communicative stalking to also prompt fear. This may be because we were unable to discern what was said in unwanted telephone calls, letters, or in other forms of communication. It may be that these women experienced increased fear derived from the content of the communications. In short, who did the stalking, how much they did it, and the practices they used to accomplish it made a target’s fear response more or less probable. Besides these factors, however, we found particular demographic features of victims also influenced the odds of feeling fearful. These included being Black (less likely than Whites to feel fearful), being older (less likely than younger women to feel fearful), being widowed (less likely than single women to feel fearful), and having some college or college degree and higher (more likely than women with a high school degree or less to feel fearful). Net of all other characteristics of the stalking experience or experiences, and net of all other demographic influences, Black women, older women, and widows were less likely to feel fearful, whereas more highly educated women were more likely to feel fearful. These results have implications for defining stalking statutorily and for administering justice (Dunn, 2002). Determining whether an event or series of events constitutes a legal instance of stalking is difficult, we acknowledge. Stalking is problematic partly because it entails an implicit threat of physical violence rather than explicit physical violence. Repeated instances of following and/or harassment of a targeted person is unsavory, but this does not constitute a crime until the victim feels fearful or threatened as a result. This standard differentiates stalking from rape, domestic battery or assault, murder, and similar crimes, all of which entail physical violation but no requirement for victims to report a particular emotion in response to their experience or experiences. We urge others to struggle with the implications of this difference and to find ways to define stalking that do not depend on victims’ subjective evaluation.


Violence Against Women

We believe the experience of “repeated following or harassment” should qualify as stalking, regardless of a target’s emotions. Unwanted and repeated instances of following or harassment should warrant formal affirmation from officials in the criminal justice system, from scholars, and from the public. Crime victims have many emotions; for instance, they feel less trusting, more discouraged, more anxious, sadder, less hopeful, and angry (Bergen, 1996; Dunn, 2002; Norris & Kaniasty, 1991). To rest a legal definition on whether a victim feels a particular emotion, including the emotion of fear, is wrong in our view. Must a woman believe she was raped to have been raped? Koss, Gidycz, and Wisniewski (1987) report that three fourths of college women who had been “legally raped” failed to define their experience as rape, even though most felt a crime of some kind or at least something “wrong” had been done. In a parallel vein, we view as misguided the requirement for stalking victims to say they feel fear for their experience to count. Doing so narrows victims’ responses to one instead of a range of potential emotions. A report of repeated and unwanted following or harassment should be sufficient to set the wheels of justice into motion. The distinctiveness of Black women in our study may have many implications for how justice is administered. If Black women less often feel fearful, they may less often report their experiences to law enforcement (cf. Fine, 1993). And a reduced rate of reporting may foster an undercount of crimes against Black women, in addition to offering them less protection and support. Black women may fail to feel stalking is a threat because of their less protected life circumstances. Garfield (2005) finds that African American women construct their experiences of violation and violence in unanticipated ways. For instance, African American women are somewhat less concerned with certain physical actions, such as interpersonal hitting, striking, or pushing than with “violations of the spirit” that threaten the “African American community” (e.g., Emmet Till’s murder or the Birmingham church bombings). Thus, because fear of violence is based on gendered, racist, and classist notions of who will be targeted for a violent attack (Madriz, 1997a), it may be that some Black women who experience other potential dangers in their lives may not experience fear from being stalked, as compared with other emotions. Furthermore, it may be true that White women are overly afraid of unwanted following or harassment, fostering an overcount of their victimization. Media images depict White women as crime victims more often than women in other racial/ethnic groups, even though White women are less often targeted (Chiricos et al., 1997; Madriz, 1997a). As a result, White women may believe themselves to be more at risk for violence generally and stalking in particular. As we just mentioned, fear of violence is based on gendered, racist, and classist notions about who will be targeted for a violent attack, and variations in how social injustice is administered may follow from these conditions. We are unsure why older or widowed women report feeling fearful less often than younger or single women. Stalking is a relatively new social problem; thus, our

Dietz, Martin / Stalking and Fear


findings may reflect a cohort effect with older women less likely to view stalking as criminal. Older women and/or widowed women have had more life experiences on which to draw, thereby making them more confident and comfortable about taking care of themselves. Widowed women may consider stalking less important than many other life events, particularly the loss of a loved one (Lillberg et al., 2003). We do not know why more highly educated women (compared to high school graduates or less educated women), net of other influences, more often report feeling fearful after being stalked. Perhaps they have led more protected lives and have been exposed to violence and/or threats less often than other women. Or it may be they are more apt to read media reports about violence toward women or crime in general and thus be more attuned to dangers associated with being repeatedly followed or harassed. We remind readers that the influence of formal education on fear holds for all women, regardless of race/ethnicity, age, employment status, marital status, and the particulars of being stalked. At least in our sample, it would appear that stalking prompts fear in more highly educated women. Finally, our findings speak to research on the stalking of college students. Some research suggests women college students are uniquely vulnerable to and/or affected by stalking compared with other women. We do not find this result relative to feeling fearful after being stalked. Net of all other variables, college students are no more likely than women in other employment or work statuses to report feeling fearful after being stalked. Our analysis and data have several limitations. The NVAW survey failed to contain a measure of time. As a result, we do not know if the first staking incident a woman reported was her first experience or if she simply thought of it first. However, because most women had no stalking experiences and because, of those who did, nearly all had one, this omission may not matter. Another puzzling issue concerns the category of boyfriend stalkers. We are unable to ascertain whether boyfriend meant a close (platonic) friend, a one-time date or sexual partner, or a long-term partner, if any of these. Furthermore, we do not know if and/or how the respondent differentiated boyfriend from acquaintance. Dunn’s (1999) finding that many college women interpreted stalking by a boyfriend as “romantic” rather than threatening may explain why some women found it no more threatening than being stalked by a stranger. Finally, we do not know where our respondents were stalked. Were the stalker’s unwanted following or harassing done at the target’s home, workplace, in a parking lot, or in the grocery store? Data on this issue would be helpful for mapping the geography of stalking, and we hope future researchers will collect and analyze them (cf. Bird & Sokolofski, 2005). In conclusion, our results identify the “patterns of fear” called for by Hollander (2000). They show an uneven distribution of fear following from a common set of experiences, and they challenge the use of feeling fearful as a standard for deciding the criminal status of the experience. The latter practice tells stalking victims that unless they felt afraid, they were not stalked, regardless of what they otherwise felt


Violence Against Women

or thought. We urge officials to consider defining stalking in ways that do not require a victim to report feeling fearful. In addition, we urge both officials and scholars to further examine patterns in fear that follow from crime victimization, including but not limited to stalking (cf. Norris & Kaniasty, 1991; Pathe & Mullen, 1997).

Notes 1. The sample was obtained by U.S. census region random-digit dialing for interviews conducted by telephone (CATI system) in 1996. Among women, the participation rate was 72%, with participation rates measured as the number of completed interviews (this includes even the screened-out interviews) divided by the number of completed interviews and interviews that were considered ineligible for various reasons including refusal, termination, or being screened out (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). 2. On comparing the sample to U.S. census data, we found that our sample is slightly unrepresentative of the U.S. population and contains more White and non-Hispanic women and fewer African American and Hispanic women than the United States in 1996. White women were 74% of women in the United States but 80% in our sample, African American women were 12% of the United States and 10% of our sample, and Latina women were 9% of the United States and 8% of our sample (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 2003). We also have more married and fewer single women than the general population. We consider the potential effects of these differences in a discussion at the article’s end. 3. Because of the nature of the data set, more heavily weighting some cases than others would make results undependable. Furthermore, tests for differences between weighted and unweighted samples and outcomes were not large enough to warrant weighting, according to Tjaden and Thoennes (1998).

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Noella A. Dietz is a research assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. She received her PhD in sociology from Florida State University in 2003 and went on to become a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Miami Medical School. Her interests include gender and violence, tobacco use and cessation, and public health research. She recently received the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Grant Award for New Investigators to examine the effects of eliminating the antitobacco prevention programs for youths, despite outcome-based evidence measuring their success.

Patricia Yancey Martin is Daisy Parker Flory Professor of Sociology at Florida State University, where she chairs the Sociology Department. She is best known for her work on gender and organizations, having published more than 80 articles and book chapters and three books, including, most recently, Rape Work: Victims, Gender, and Emotions in Organization and Community Context (2005). For her 2003 paper on gender as practice, Martin received the Distinguished Article Award from the Sex and Gender Section of the American Sociological Association. Besides gender, she studies and teaches courses on the women’s movement, qualitative methods, and gender and violence.