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Perceived severity of stalking behavior and blame attributions among Malaysians: the influence of prior relationship, belief in a just world, and Dark Tetrad personality traits

Chung, K. L., Chen, X. Y. and Syed Faisal Al-Edros, S. D. H. (2022) Perceived severity of stalking behavior and blame attributions among Malaysians: the influence of prior relationship, belief in a just world, and Dark Tetrad personality traits. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma. ISSN 1545-083X (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

The ‘just world hypothesis’ is often used to explain victim blame attribution in assault cases, while dark personality traits are known to predict victim-blaming attitudes in sexual harassment situations, but little work has empirically tested these hypotheses within the context of stalking perpetration. Research investigating perceptions towards stalking is also scarce in the Asia region. This study examined whether the prior relationship between the stalking perpetrator and victim, just world beliefs, and Dark Tetrad traits influence judgements of severity of the behavior and perceptions of victim responsibility in a country that does not currently have anti-stalking legislation. Three hundred and thirty university students and general community members in Malaysia read a fictional stalking scenario in which the perpetrator was depicted as a stranger, acquaintance, or ex-partner. Participants evaluated whether the perpetrator’s behavior constitutes stalking, requires police intervention, would cause the victim alarm, personal distress, or to fear the use of violence, and can be attributed to the victim’s behavior. There were significant differences between the perpetrator-target prior relationship conditions on perceptions of stalking. Just world beliefs, Machiavellianism, and narcissism were positively associated with perceived victim responsibility, while each Dark Tetrad trait had differential associations with perceived severity of the stalking behavior, albeit with small effect sizes. Further regression analyses revealed that belief in a just world was a consistent predictor of perceived victim responsibility. Findings confirm that the individual observer’s internal and external factors influence how stalking is perceived, which have implications for victims of stalking and the legal system.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
University of Reading Malaysia
ID Code:108131
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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