A preliminary test of a relational goal pursuit theory of obsessive relational intrusion and stalking

Brian H. Spitzberg, William R. Cupach, Annegret F. Hannawa, John P. Crowley


This study investigated whether relational goal pursuit theory (RGP) predicts post-breakup persistent unwanted pursuit of the partner. RGP posits that lower-order goals of seeking intimacy with a particular person become linked to higher-order goals, leading to a cascade of goal linking, rumination, face sensitivity, emotional flooding, and if unchecked, eventually obsessive relational intrusion (ORI) or stalking. Several model components revealed modest potential for predicting ORI. The locus of relationship breakup had substantial impact on the RGP constructs, but surprisingly little effect on the perpetration of ORI tactics. Implications for the RGP theory and the prediction of ORI perpetration are discussed.



Stalking; Obsessive relational intrusion; Aggression; Relational goal pursuit


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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896