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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2013;41(2):193-9.

Psychiatrists' experiences of being stalked: a qualitative analysis.

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  • 1Three Bridges Regional Secure Unit, Uxbridge Road, Southall, UK.


Stalking is a well-recognized social phenomenon, one that particularly affects health care professionals, especially psychiatrists and other mental health workers; however, the nature and effects of stalking of psychiatrists have not been examined in detail. This study is a qualitative thematic analysis of the free-text responses of 2,585 psychiatrists in the United Kingdom (approximately 25% of all U.K. psychiatrists), almost 11 percent of whom described being stalked according to a strict research definition, and 21 percent of whom perceived themselves as having been stalked. It demonstrates that threat minimization, negative psychological impact, awareness of vulnerability, and difficulty obtaining help were major themes in how psychiatrists viewed their experiences of being stalked. It shows how some psychiatrists coped better than others and makes suggestions for appropriate professional support.

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