Patterns in response to chronic terrorism threats: A construct of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses among Israeli citizens

Keren Cohen-Louck, Yael Saka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Israeli citizens are exposed to unpredictable and chronic terrorism threats that significantly jeopardize their personal sense of safety. The purpose of the present study is to present how Israeli discourse is structured with regard to emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses to chronic terrorism threats and to understand the range of responses as well as map the risk and protective factors of this existential threat. Semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with 40 Israeli adults (22 women and 18 men). Qualitative analysis revealed three patterns of responses to ongoing terrorism: emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. Emotional responses include fear, worry, sense of empathy, and detachment. Cognitive responses include situational assessment and pursuit of solutions, the use of traumatic imagining, beliefs in fate and luck, and optimism. Behavioral responses include looking for information, alertness, and habituation. The findings also revealed another response, which combines cognitive and behavioral responses. Some of the responses are innovative and unique to the threat of terrorism. Mapping the responses revealed mental health risk factors, as well as protective factors that can help structure personal and national resilience. These findings have implications on the treatment and prevention of personal and social pathologies, and how to effectively cope with terrorism threats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-458
Number of pages11
JournalStress and Health
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords

  • responses
  • stress
  • terrorism

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