Suicide terrorism is an emerging public health topic across the globe. The variety of negative consequences following terrorist attacks can be identified among survivors (psychological difficulties, physical injuries, reduced day-to-day functioning), among the bereaved (post-traumatic stress reactions), and in the general population (acute stress symptoms, fear of new attacks, increase in prejudice against religious minorities etc).One of the main goals of suicide terrorist attacks (STA) is to increase media coverage of attacks to increase fear in the population and promote the goals of terrorist organisations. Previous studies have found a clear link between the number of articles about the initial terrorist incident, and the number of follow-up attacks over the next few week. Suicide terrorist attacks, like other community-based traumatic events, receive extensive media coverage. A significant causal association was found between media exposure and acute stress symptoms, even some year after the attack.
The randomised control trial will be conducted. Participants will be randomly assigned to three groups (in total 150 participants). Each group will read printed media report about suicidal terrorist attack or a control article that uses similar stylistic elements. For the first group the media report will provide information about the suicide terrorist attack with details about origins of the terrorist (e.g., if he/ she was a migrant, or asylum seeker). For the second group of participants, a similar report will be used which, however, does not disclose origins and motivations of the suicide attacker (which is consistent with media recommendations). The third group (control group) will receive media report about homicide, that is not the terror act. Related to the printed media report, participants should fill the questionnaire within three time rounds (T1, T2, T3).
T1- respondents fill the questionnaire before reading the printed media report about STA.
T2- respondents fill the questionnaire immediately after reading the printed media report about STA.
T3 - respondents fill the questionnaire after one week.
Data from the questionnaire will be analysed with appropriate statistical analysis (e.g., ANOVA, linear mixed models), in accordance with earlier studies from the group . We are planning to analyze if the impact of the media reports varies across study groups, and with baseline characteristics of the study participants (e.g. age, sex, vulnerability to suicide).
Questionnaires used will analyse following variables: current mood (Becker 1988), suicidality (Reasons for Living Inventory Linehan, Goodstein, Nielsen, Chiles (1983), stress (SUDS – Subjective Units of Distress Scale- Subjektive Stress Skala, The Australian Center for Post-Traumatic Mental Health (1969), stigma to Suicide, islamophobia (Kunst & Sam, 2013), identification (Identification Scale from Cohen (2001), dichotomous thoughts (Sauerland M, 2015), national pride (Schmidt-Denter U& Schick (2007), political views and socio-demographic characteristics.