What is it about?

Threat of terrorism is a threat of extreme violence and considered to be traumatic. Our manuscript examined the factors that are related to personal differences in risk perception of terrorism. Although the issue of risk perception is well researched, little is known about the relationship between risk perception of terrorism and coping. To examine risk perception of terrorism we focused on perceived control and perceived vulnerability. Regarding coping, we adopted a multi-dimensional approach. Our findings support the assumption that perceived control and perceived vulnerability regarding terrorism differ by coping types. Problem-focused coping was related to high levels of perceived control and emotion-focused coping was related to low levels of perceived control. Participants who scored high on both problem- and emotion-focused scales (mixed coping) reported the highest levels of perceived vulnerability and those participants who scored low on both scales (minimal coping) reported the lowest levels of perceived vulnerability. Men reported higher perceived control than women, and participants who were exposed to terrorist attacks reported higher perceived vulnerability than those non-exposed. Additionally, we also identified interesting interactions regarding perceived control: 1) between gender and coping and 2) between gender and exposure.

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Why is it important?

The results challenge the notion that mixing coping strategies helps in adapting to stress. Due to the multidimensional model of coping, this study contributes to unveiling the complex relationship between risk perception of terrorism, coping, and gender. As for practical aspects, based on this study's results, we suggest that the public should be educated on effective individual risk management methods that can reduce feelings of vulnerability. Problem-focused coping for chronic threat of terrorism is related to high levels of perceived control and mixed coping is related to high levels of perceived vulnerability. We also draw practitioner attention to the interplay between coping and gender. Considering the reciprocity between coping and risk perception, educational and therapeutic interventions that include training in effective coping techniques such as problem-focused coping, as well as addressing gender differences, may reduce the level of risk perception of terrorism, thereby reducing emotional distress.

Perspectives

I am obviously not objective, yet I believe that this manuscript presents an interesting point of view on reasons for gender differences in coping with threat of terrorism.

Dr Inna Levy
Ariel University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Risk perception of a chronic threat of terrorism: Differences based on coping types, gender and exposure, International Journal of Psychology, November 2018, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12552.
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