Homeland Security

Judith J. Mathewson: “The Psychological Impact of Terrorist Attacks: Lessons Learned For Future Threats,” in: The Homeland Security Papers: Stemming the Tide of Terror, eds. Michael W. Ritz, Ralph G. Hensley, Jr., and James C. “Chris” Whitmire, Chapter 9. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: USAF Counterproliferation Center, 2004.
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To Do:

So far, we have addressed the following aspects of the disaster psychology mission set:

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Lesson 2: Anticipation and Preparation
Lesson 3: Disaster Planning
Lesson 4: Understanding Risks
Lesson 5: Communicating Risk Information
Lesson 6: Experiencing a Disaster
Lesson 7: Stress Reactions

Your task now is to relate this insight to addressing of the psychological impact of terrorist attacks in a case-based way. To do so, proceed as follows:

Research a psychologically well documented case of a terrorist attack in the U.S. or any other country that meets the criteria of a disaster, following the working definition for this course, see Psychological Processes Related to Disasters.
Briefly describe and discuss the case based on the different dimensions of psychological impact addressed in the lesson reading: “The Psychological Impact of Terrorist Attacks: Lessons Learned For Future Threats,”
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Choose three different aspects from the disaster psychology mission set as listed above (Lessons 2-7 of this course).
Assess your case: How were those three aspects addressed in dealing with the psychological impact of the terrorist attack? What would you recommend should have been done differently based on what you have learned in this course so far, and why and how should it have been done differently?
Base your assessment on:
The three different aspects you chose and the course lessons in which they were addressed
Your reading of the text for this Lesson 8.
Five articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals that present research results to further examine the psychological impact of terrorist attacks and the effectiveness of responses (expanding on your three chosen aspects under a.).
Present your case, approach and results of your assessment in a paper of 900-1000 words text (excluding title page, table of contents, bibliography, and any annexes).

Unlike the web, peer-reviewed papers must pass a rigorous process of evaluation by experts to determine whether the research reported reflects credible and competent science. For example, if you want to publish a web page claiming that a new stress treatment works, there is nothing to stop you, but if you want to make the same claims in a peer-reviewed journal, you must present relevant and credible evidence. Thus, peer-reviewed journals are considered the best, and perhaps the only source of information that will allow you to objectively evaluate claims about different methods of reducing stress.

It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether a journal reports peer-reviewed research, and if you have questions about any specific journal, you can check with the instructor. There is no definitive list of journals that report research on stress reduction; the University of Texas at Austin’s Library provides a good description of peer-reviewed journals
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You may also find our Homeland Security Research Guide
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It certainly is a good idea to layout and structure your mid-term paper according to common rules and expectations for a term paper, since later in this class in your final project paper, you will be required to do so. Useful advice on term papers is available here: http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Term-Paper
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