Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Cheryl Terrance


Cyber stalking is a relatively new phenomenon that is currently limited in empirical research. Consequently, despite the seriousness of the crime, prevalence rates are unreliable and estimates suffer from vast variation. Cyber stalking may be underreported due to limited community understanding of what behaviors constitute cyber stalking. Many factors unique to cyber stalking may impact the extent to which the crime is reported, and the extent to which the perpetrator or victim is held responsible. The current study aimed to examine the impact of perpetrator gender, relationship between the perpetrator and victim, and the perpetrator's proximity to the victim on perceptions of cyber stalking and victim blame. The current study further aimed to gather data on the prevalence of cyber stalking, by measuring cyber stalking behaviors experienced by participants and cyber stalking behaviors engaged in by participants. Participants read one of eight scenarios that varied victim gender, cyber stalker-victim relationship, and proximity. Perpetrator gender and proximity both impacted perceptions of the scenario as cyber stalking and its severity. While cyber stalking-victim relationship was found not to impact perceptions of the scenario, contrary to previous stalking research. Finally, both participant gender and self-reported prior cyber stalking victimization was found to impact attitudes toward cyber stalking. Implications are discussed.