The psychological cost of terrorism

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What is the psychological impact of terrorism both on individuals and on communities? This paper attempts to provide a compact answer to this important question, but many obstacles lie in the way of a clear understanding. To begin with, the psychological literature on terrorism and its impact is not particularly rich, especially when one considers the very high political and media profile terrorism has held for many years. Doubtless one fall-out from the horrific events of September 11 2001 will be an increase in research on this troubled subject and already funding earmarked for such work has increased beyond all recognition compared to levels prior to the attacks on New York and Washington. Yet, terrorism – even highly destructive terrorism – is not a new phenomenon. A quick glance at history reveals that terrorist groups and their campaigns of violence have been present throughout the world for at least two thousand years and probably considerably longer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Update
Issue number72
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • terrorism
  • victims
  • PTSD
  • psychological impact

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