Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Disabled And Other Vulnerable Groups More Susceptible To Terrorism Fears

Date:
January 24, 2009
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Research has shown that certain marginalized groups -- including the mentally ill, the disabled and ethnic minorities such as African Americans and Latinos -- fare worse than others in the aftermath of natural disasters, suffering disproportionate impoverishment, injuries and fatalities. Now a new study has found that they also experience greater terrorism-related fears and make more behavioral changes based on those fears -- such as avoiding certain activities -- than others.

Research has shown that certain marginalized groups — including the mentally ill, the disabled and ethnic minorities such as African Americans and Latinos — fare worse than others in the aftermath of natural disasters, suffering disproportionate impoverishment, injuries and fatalities.

Now, a new study by UCLA researchers and colleagues has found that they also experience greater terrorism-related fears and make more behavioral changes based on those fears — such as avoiding certain activities — than others. These groups also tend to overestimate the threat of terrorism, perceiving the risk as high even when the Homeland Security Advisory System's (HSAS) color-coded alert system rates it lower.

"Just like natural disasters have been shown to affect certain groups of people more than others, we're now seeing evidence that terrorism fears are having a disproportionate effect on some of our most vulnerable groups," said leady study author David P. Eisenman, assistant professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "It's important for the public to know this because it shows that terrorism's intention to induce fear and change does work — on the most vulnerable. Terrorism affects these groups even when there has not been an event in a long time.

"It also shows," he added, "that the HSAS color-coding is misjudged by citizens, and the same persons who have the most fear and avoid activities are also misjudging it."

The findings are based on random-digit dial surveys conducted in in six languages in Los Angeles County between October 2004 and January 2005. Respondents were asked the color of the country's alert level at that time, as well as how often they worried about terrorist attacks and how often they avoided activities because of those fears.

Researchers found that the mentally ill, the disabled, African Americans, Latinos, Chinese Americans, Korean Americans and non-U.S. citizens were likelier to think the HSAS alert level was higher than it was, and to worry more and change their behavior due to those fears.

These findings present evidence that the structure of the HSAS alerts need to be reevaluated — in part to ensure that terrorism alerts better reach these vulnerable populations, Eisenman said. Also, vulnerable groups need assistance to help them reduce their fears and avoidance. Ensuring that structures can be safely evacuated in the event of a terrorist act, for example, can help reduce some of these fears among the physically disabled.

"Terrorism-related fears and avoidant behavior can be considered part of the 'disaster burden' — the amount of adverse health effects ranging from loss of well-being or security to injury, illness or death caused by a disaster associated with terrorism and national terrorism policies," the researchers conclude. "The disaster burden associated with terrorism and consequent policies may fall disproportionately on the vulnerable groups we studied."

In addition to Eisenman, study researchers included Michael Ong, Qiong Zhou and Chi-Hong Tseng of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Steve Asch of the Geffen School of Medicine, the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and the RAND Corp.; Deborah Glik of the UCLA School of Public Health; Jonathan Fielding of the UCLA School of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; and Anna Long of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eisenman et al. Terrorism-Related Fear and Avoidance Behavior in a Multiethnic Urban Population. American Journal of Public Health, 2008; 99 (1): 168 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.124206

Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Disabled And Other Vulnerable Groups More Susceptible To Terrorism Fears." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121174128.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2009, January 24). Disabled And Other Vulnerable Groups More Susceptible To Terrorism Fears. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121174128.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Disabled And Other Vulnerable Groups More Susceptible To Terrorism Fears." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121174128.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins