The Psychological Impact of Terrorism: Lessons from the UK Experience

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Serious concerns exist about the psychological impact terrorism has on individuals and communities who are exposed to such violence. This chapter reviews the impact terrorism has had in the United Kingdom over the past thirty years. In that timeframe, the UK has experienced thousands of violent terrorist incidents, most of which have been connected to the dispute over Northern Ireland. Since 1969, terrorist violence has resulted in some 4,000 deaths and over 50,000 injuries. Together with such physical casualties, there has also been the issue of the psychological effect of the violence and the manner in which terrorism has impacted at such a level is outlined. Significantly, initial fears that terrorism would have a prolonged and deeply deleterious psychological effect on the wider population have proved unfounded. Even within the more troubled regions of the UK the overall impact of terrorism in these terms has been surprisingly mild. Why terrorism has not had a more obviously debilitating effect is explored and possible lessons to be taken from the UK experience are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMeeting the Challenges of Global Terrorism
Subtitle of host publicationPrevention, Control, and Recovery
EditorsDilip Das, Peter Kratcoski
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherLexington Books
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)0739104993
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • psychology of terrorism
  • victims of terrorism
  • United Kingdom
  • PTSD
  • Northern Ireland
  • northern ireland conflict
  • Northern Ireland Troubles

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