Molly J. Hall, Ann E. Norwood, Robert J. Ursano, Carol S. Fullerton


Biosecur Bioterror. 2003;1(2) 

In This Article


Anticipating the psychological impact of bioterrorism raises many issues that go beyond traditional mental health roles and interventions. Managing the immediate psychological casualties and providing treatment for mental health disorders that may arise in the wake of an attack are important. Preparing the nation for terrorism is a larger task and demands an understanding of the public's psychological and behavioral reactions to this unique threat. Understanding the terror in terrorism and the contagion of fear in different circumstances will promote interventions that can be tailored to a specific incident. Human beings, institutions, and communities have vulnerabilities as well as adaptive capacities. In the event of bioterrorism, effective risk communication and risk management must address the intense emotional responses to an invisible, unpredictable, life-threatening enemy.

Based on topics introduced in this article, response planning must include the preparation of leaders, the media, and the medical and scientific communities to credibly engage the public to prevent panic, to encourage rapid restoration of community functioning, and to sustain the people's trust.


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