Rejection, Rumination, and Revenge: a Test of the Relational Goal Pursuit Theory of Stalking Perpetration
Fay, Benjamin A.
AdvisorSinclair, H. Colleen
CommitteeGiesen, J. Martin
Applying Relational Goal Pursuit Theory (RGT), the present study examined the motivations for obsessive relational intrusion (ORI). Participants (n = 509) were randomly assigned to conditions that 1) primed relational or retaliatory goals, then 2) exposed to a negative romantic relationship vignette (relationship disappointment vs. explicit rejection vs. “nice” rejection), and 3) then were either induced to ruminate about the vignette events or were not. Participants reported how likely they would be to think about pursuit (e.g., frequent calls) and aggressive (e.g., threats) ORI. Contrary to expectations, rejection elicited less ORI than the relationship disappointment condition. However, it was found that 1) the ORI scale broke into a three-factor, instead of two-factor, model of pursuit, aggressive, and surveillance behavior, and 2) that motivations for each type varied. Relational goals predicted pursuit. Retaliation predicted aggression. Motives for surveillance behaviors were linked to both desires for revenge and reconciliation.