"It's Been Devastating": An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Experience of being Cyberstalked

Prof Doc Thesis

Reveley, K. 2017. "It's Been Devastating": An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Experience of being Cyberstalked. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.6751
AuthorsReveley, K.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Internet usage across the globe has grown exponentially over the past sixteen years from 361 million users in 2000 to 3.68 billion users in 2016, constituting an increase of over 918% (Miniwatts Marketing Group, 2016a). The increase in utilization and advancement of communication technologies has led to an increase in the prevalence of cyberstalking (Parsons-Pollard & Moriarty, 2009). Consequently, cyberstalking has become a global epidemic (Maple, Short & Brown, 2011). However, in contrast to the ubiquitous nature of cyberstalking, there is relatively little research examining the impact of cyberstalking on victims (Dressing, Bailer, Anders, Wagner & Gallas, 2014; Parsons-Pollard & Moriarty, 2009).
The current study aimed to address this paucity in research and explore and understand more about the lived experience of being cyberstalked. Interviews were carried out with five people who had been cyberstalked and transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Three superordinate themes emerged including ‘feeling powerless’, ‘loss’ and ‘trying to make sense of the perpetrator’.
The findings illuminate the devastating impact of cyberstalking upon victim’s wellbeing with many experiencing suicide ideation to end the torment. Organisations such as advocacy services, anti-stalking organisations, the police force and employers were found to provide inadequate support and exacerbate feelings of powerlessness. In coping, participants employed various strategies, but far from alleviating their suffering, such strategies appeared to compound their distress. The findings highlight the role for Counselling Psychology in providing support to those who have been targeted by a phenomenon that is likely to become more prolific (Parsons-Pollard & Moriarty, 2009).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.6751
Publication dates
PrintJun 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Jan 2018
Publisher's version
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