Factors Affecting the Amplification or Attenuation of Public Worry and Dread about Bioterrorist Attacks
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This study examined what variables -- technical/rational or normative/value -- predict public worry and dread about bioterrorist attacks. Data from a national sample indicate that the technical variable of media attention and the normative variable of perceived readiness of the government to counter threats predicted level of worry. The normative variables of trust in universities and advocacy groups, trust in interpersonal sources, alienation from government, and government readiness to defend the country against attacks predicted level of dread. The results point to the need to provide the public with information, through the most effective channels, to maintain a sense of trust in the government's and individuals' abilities to provide protection in the event of attack.
This article appeared in Homeland Security Affairs (January 2010), v.6 no.1
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