Is stalking a learned phenomenon? An empirical test of social learning theory

Kathleen A. Fox, Matt R. Nobles, Ronald L. Akers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Purpose: We examine the extent to which components of social learning theory (i.e., definitions, differential reinforcement, and differential association/modeling) predict stalking victimization and perpetration using survey data from a large sample of college students. Methods: Among a sample of 2,766 college students, logistic regression models were estimated to analyze the relationships between social learning theory and stalking perpetration and victimization. Results: Results suggest that victimization and perpetration are functions of social learning. The findings also indicated that females were significantly more likely to be both stalking victims and perpetrators. Conclusions: Regarding stalking perpetration and victimization, our results suggest that there may be responses, attitudes, and behaviors that are learned, modified, or reinforced primarily through interaction with peers. Overall, social learning theory concepts appear to be important predictors of stalking perpetration and victimization that help to develop theoretical explanations for stalking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-47
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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