The ever excellent ABC Radio All in the Mind has a special edition on the psychology of stalking, investigating the drives and motivations of persistent stalkers as well as the impact on their victims.
In order to better understand stalking, Paul Mullen’s group have categorised people who stalk according to what motivates them. There’s the rejected stalker, usually ex-partners trying to reinstate a relationship. The intimacy seeker, who professes love but is oblivious to their victim’s feelings – people who stalk celebrities usually fall into this category and are the most persistent. There’s the incompetent suitor, who lacks the social skills necessary to establish an intimate relationship; the resentful stalker, who’s motivated by anger and a desire for revenge – they can be very frightening but rarely physically violent. And lastly, and thankfully the most rare, is the predatory stalker – they are driven by sadistic pleasure, their stalking is sexual in nature and often leads to attack.
The British Psychological Society magazine The Psychologist published an article on stalking a few years ago (pdf) also examining this intriguing yet disturbing phenomenon.