Canetti, D., & Lindner, M. (in press). Exposure to Political Violence and Political Behavior: Psychological Mechanisms for Transformation. In K.J. Reynolds & N.R. Branscombe (Eds.), The Psychology of Change:Life Contexts, Experiences, and Identities. New York: Psychology Press.
Civilians living in societies suffering from prolonged conflict deal with daily exposure to war-related events, including resurgences of political violence and terrorism that cause casualties. Many studies have shown that political violence often results in large-scale transformations in affected societies. For example, political iolence has been linked to deterioration in economic conditions (Abadie & Gardeazabal, 2003) and the availability of employment (Greenbaum, Dugan, & LaFree, 2007). Individual-level exposure and its effects, however, have received less attention outside the boundaries of clinical psychology and social work. This is surprising since individual exposure to conflict and violence can result in drastic, sometimes long-lasting, changes in physical and mental health of exposed individuals, which in turn has implications for the wider politics of conflict, including radical shifts in political attitudes. Hence, the following questions deserve particular attention: How are people changed by the context in which they live in? How, and by which mechanisms, does exposure to conflict violence lead to – mostly radical - transformations in civilians’ subsequent political attitudes and behavior?