“Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Risk Perceptions, Emotions, and the Decision to Stay in an Attacked Area

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Abstract

This article uses data collected in 2012 after the Israel Defense Forces’ military operation in response to incessant rocket attacks on Israel that Hamas militias launched from the Gaza Strip. The study examines and compares the emotional levels, risk perceptions, and national identity of 4 groups of people who made different decisions about staying in or leaving the attacked region during the operation: (a) those who left, (b) those who stayed, (c) those who wanted to leave but could not, and (d) a control group. The results show differences in the emotional levels and risk perceptions of the 4 groups. We offer policymakers some practical suggestions, for example, mapping the existing barriers that would keep the population from moving during a terrorist attack or natural disaster, that could help manage stress and reduce negative emotions.

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