Internal and Environmental Buffers of Terrorism-Related Anxiety
Spiegel, Eric Baron
Gelso, Charles J.
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The current study focuses on the adjustment of Washingtonians to living under the threat of terrorism. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationships of six predictor variables - resilience, spirituality, perceived social support, perceived controllability, denial, and previous trauma - with terrorism-related anxiety. The author hypothesized that resilience, spirituality, and perceived social support would all be negatively associated with terrorism-related anxiety. Furthermore, it was posited that spirituality would moderate the relationship between previous trauma and terrorism-related anxiety, and that perceived controllability would moderate the relationship between denial and terrorism-related anxiety. A cross-sectional design utilizing correlation and regression analyses was selected to assess the relationships between the predictor and dependent variables, as well as a series of demographic variables. A total of 154 individuals completed a questionnaire packet containing reliable and valid self-report items, which was posted on a secure web site accessible only to study participants. Of the three main effect hypotheses, only the hypothesis involving resilience and terrorism-related anxiety was partially supported. Resilience was significantly and negatively correlated with one of two measures terrorism-related anxiety; it also had significant negative relationships with both measures of terrorism-related anxiety in separate regression analyses. In addition, the interaction effect involving spirituality and previous trauma was partially supported. For one of two measures of terrorism-related anxiety, the spirituality-previous trauma interaction term had a negative relationship with the criterion. Based on the results of this regression, we see that for those who reported high levels of spirituality, higher amounts of trauma were associated with less terrorism anxiety. For people low in spirituality, the level of anxiety stays roughly the same, regardless of the amount of trauma. The significant and non-significant findings for the present study provide tentative directions for future research into terrorism-related anxiety.