Responses to perceived terrorism risk by self-identified survivalists: An exploratory study

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Survivalists are individuals who stockpile resources to prepare for a wide-scale disaster or societal collapse, generally at a degree well beyond that of the average person. To date, an in-depth understanding of how survivalists perceive and respond to terrorism risk remains lacking in the research literature. This study applies Protection Management Theory (PMT) to address how perceived severity of a future terrorist attack, perceived risk of a future terrorist attack, and perceived effectiveness of self-protection relate to self-protective action and self-identification as a survivalist. Data were collected with a web survey administered to a nationwide sample of 520 adults in the U.S. Only higher perceived effectiveness of self-protection was associated with both a greater number of self-protective actions taken and a greater likelihood of identifying as a survivalist. The perceived seriousness of a terrorist attack occurring was only associated with identifying as a survivalist. Respondents’ reasoning indicated that a greater percentage of survivalists than others identified uncertainty of risk as motivation for their actions. Survivalists were less likely to mention fear in their answers than other respondents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-460
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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