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Does Terrorism Dominate Citizens’ Hearts or Minds?

Terrorism only poses a small risk to people but tends to be a major source of public fear. Through fear, terrorism has far-reaching implications for public governance.

Author
Ramon van der Does, Jaroslaw Kantorowicz, Sanneke Kuipers, Marieke Liem
Date
29 May 2019
Links
Taylor & Francis Online

In this paper 'Does Terrorism Dominate Citizens’ Hearts or Minds? The Relationship between Fear of Terrorism and Trust in Government' we look at trust in government as a potential mitigating factor of fear of terrorism. We discern between calculative trust, based on analytical assessment of previous and expected future actions, and relational trust, based on emotions and perceived value similarity with government. We find that relational trust decreases fear of terrorism.
A similar but less robust negative relationship exists between calculative trust and fear. However, our regression analyses suggest that relational trust, in fact, may mediate the relationship between calculative trust and fear of terrorism. In other words, the more citizens think government is able to prevent terrorist attacks and feel that authorities are doing enough, the more they, in turn, feel that their government shares their values, and the less fearful they are of future terrorist attacks.

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