Stereotyped images of terrorists as predictors of fear of future terrorist attacks

Kossowska, Malgorzata; Golec de Zavala, Agnieszka and Kubik, Tomasz. 2010. Stereotyped images of terrorists as predictors of fear of future terrorist attacks. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 2(3), pp. 179-197. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Three studies examine how al Qaeda terrorists are perceived by Polish participants and how these perceptions are related to emotional reactions to terrorism and support for counter‐terrorism measures, such as the installation of the American National Missile Defence (NMD) system in Poland. In study 1 we combine qualitative and quantitative approach to test the terrorist perception and identify four images of al Qaeda terrorists: psychopathic criminals, strategists, ideologues and desperate combatants. The results of study 2 indicate that two images attributing irrationality to al Qaeda terrorists and unpredictability to their actions (psychopathic criminals and ideologues) are related to high perceived risk of future terrorist attacks, fear of terrorism and a tendency to catastrophize terrorism. Results of study 3 show that these two images are related to opposition towards NMD in Poland. Fear of terrorism mediates this relationship. The image of terrorists as rational strategists is not related to fear of terrorism and is related to positive attitudes towards installation of the NMD in Poland.

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July 2010Published

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19 Dec 2013 14:44

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30 Jun 2017 15:17

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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