Does Trust Prevent Fear in the Aftermath of Terrorist Attacks?

Terrorism Trust Disruption project

An analysis of the possible preventive effects of trust on fear after terrorism.

Bernard Enjolras , Kari Steen-Johnsen , Francisco Herreros , Øyvind Bugge Solheim (C-REX - Center for Research on Extremism) , Marte Slagsvold Winsvold , Shana Kushner Gadarian , Atte Oksanen

Open Access Project page Dataset

This article examines the potentially buffering effect of generalized social trust on fear in the aftermath of terrorist attacks and in situations of terrorist threat. It draws on comparative, longitudinal survey data, examining the cases of the 2011 Utøya terrorist attack in Norway, the 2016 Nice attack in France and the 2017 Barcelona attack in Spain; it also draws on a comparative news story experiment that examined the bolstering effect of social trust in relation to terrorist threat. The results show that high levels of generalized social trust before exposure to terrorism are linked to lower levels of fear after the event. This relationship holds for the longitudinal survey data and the news story experiment, and across national contexts. This result indicates a general bolstering effect of social trust. However, the size of effects vary between national contexts and incidents of terrorism. This indicates that the effect of trust is dependent on the social and cultural structures of trust in the different countries and on specific factors related to the attacks.


For attribution, please cite this work as

Enjolras, et al., "Solheim: Does Trust Prevent Fear in the Aftermath of Terrorist Attacks?", Perspectives on Terrorism, 2019

BibTeX citation

  author = {Enjolras, Bernard and Steen-Johnsen, Kari and Herreros, Francisco and Solheim, Øyvind Bugge and Winsvold, Marte Slagsvold and Gadarian, Shana Kushner and Oksanen, Atte},
  title = {Solheim: Does Trust Prevent Fear in the Aftermath of Terrorist Attacks?},
  journal = {Perspectives on Terrorism},
  year = {2019},
  note = {},
  volume = {13},
  issue = {4}