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  1. Jonathan S. Comer

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0982

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Comer, J. S. 2010. Terrorism. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Columbia University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Terrorism is defined in Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d), as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups … intended to influence an audience.” Risk analyses suggest that the target locations for terrorist attacks are typically those that are critical to the government and economy, contain iconic symbols, and are high in human occupancy. These targets tend to exist in major urban areas, and thus when terrorism strikes, a great many individuals are in close proximity and are vulnerable to directly witnessing the attack, seeing dead or injured people, being involved in an evacuation, experiencing extended hours of separation from loved ones amid a climate of panic, losing a loved one, viewing physical damage or ruins, and/or being forced to relocate their residency.


  • disasters;
  • trauma;
  • PTSD;
  • terrorism;
  • political violence