Canetti, Daphna, Rapaport, Carmit, Wayne, Carly, Hall, Brian, Hobfoll, Stevan. “An Exposure Effect? Evidence from a Rigorous Study on the Psycho-political Outcomes of Terrorism". in The Political Psychology of Terrorism Fears. Samuel Justin Sinclair and Daniel Antonius, eds. New York: Oxford University Press.
Citizens in societies in conflict deal with daily exposure to war-related events. The stress and fear engendered by these events can play a critical role in determining how individual citizens perceive potential threats and in turn impact their political decisions regarding the conflict– namely, support for compromise and tolerance or militancy and exclusion. It is thus critical to examine this linkage between stress, threat perception and political attitudes in the context of protracted conflicts. This chapter proposes a stress-based model to help understand the political outcomes of exposure to terrorism and political violence. According to the model, there are three basic components in the causal chain leading to political outcomes: exposure to terrorism and political violence, stress, and threat perception. Through an extensive review of contemporary literature on political psychology in conflict zones, we examine these components, their buffers, the central role played by fear in this context and the fundamental importance of conducting research in war and conflict zones despite the objective methodological issues, in order to further our understanding of the unique psychological and political consequences for civilian populations of exposure to prolonged conflict environments. The current model, although examined in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict context, is widely applicable for other conflict zones around the world, and as such offers a strong basis for therapy, intervention and conflict resolution.