7 October 2021

The effect of terrorism on public attitudes and individual wellbeing

A new project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), will explore how to develop adequate capabilities to manage the consequences of terrorist attacks.

London terrorism

The fight against terrorism has long been a top priority for Western democracies, intensified by recent attacks in Paris, London, Berlin and Madrid. Yet, despite continued experiences of terrorist violence, researchers and the government still do not know the true cost of the violence. 

There are many existing studies that look into the costs of terrorism, particularly those commissioned by governments to better understand the financial implications, but research on the effects of terrorism on public attitudes and individual wellbeing is in its infancy. 

Dr Georgios Efthyvoulou is a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Sheffield. He joins Professor Bove at the University of Warwick and Dr Pickard at the University of Newcastle in examining whether terrorism has shaped public sentiments and subjective wellbeing in Great Britain over the period 1990-2018, and how. 

The research aims to inform strategic thinking and enable more effective policy intervention. In particular, this work will be presented to the Home Office to raise awareness of the indirect effects of terrorism and help the UK government develop appropriate strategies to minimize its costs to mitigate its negative consequences, so that the country can recover quickly in the aftermath of a terrorist incident. As such, it will contribute to the UK's Strategy for Countering Terrorism (CONTEST) 2018 to ‘reduce the risk to the UK [...] from terrorism, so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence’. 

“Our findings can also have tangible benefits for other stakeholders who are interested in mitigating the negative societal consequences of terrorism like NATO and the International Institute for Strategic Studies” said Dr Efthyvoulou. “I hope our findings can stimulate a wider public debate about alternative counter-terrorism policies and the language used by political leaders and the media when referring to terrorist events.”

Find out more about Dr Georgios Efthyvoulou’s work

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.