Impacts of Urban Terror Attacks on Turkish Mothers' Daily Experiences

J Interpers Violence. 2022 Jun;37(11-12):NP10245-NP10270. doi: 10.1177/0886260520985493. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Abstract

This phenomenological study aims to provide a deeper understanding of the day-to-day experiences of Turkish women with caregiving responsibilities in terms of (a) how they respond to and regulate their lives around the fear of terror, (b) how their caregiving roles affect their reactions, and (c) how they cope with terrorism induced distress in their day-to-day life. A total of 21 women were interviewed for the study about their daily experiences following terrorist attacks that occurred in their urban hometowns. The qualitative analysis program called Atlas.ti was utilized for the coding procedure. Four main themes (the nature of the terrorist attacks, reactions to the event, coping strategies, and the role of the media) and several subcategories emerged from the data. The participants were emotionally affected by these events as they were shocked and confused, their sense of security was shaken, and they felt anxious not only during the events but they also continued to perceive such danger days or weeks after the events. All participating mothers reported some degree of shock, anxiety, fear, threat, risk alertness, and a shaken sense of security even though none of the mothers themselves or their loved ones were direct victims of the events. Overall, the results reveal that Turkish mothers feel terror threat perception and security-related stress even around 6 months after the events. Having a caregiving responsibility exacerbates the women's distress level. The unpredictability, uncertainty, and physical proximity/familiarity of the location of the event appear to have vital impacts on participants' cognitive, emotional, and behavioral reactions as well as in their coping. Similarly, the media, including social media, play significant roles in meaning making and responses as well as the coping process. The results were discussed in the light of the related literature.

Keywords: coping; mothers; response; terrorism; terrorism-induced distress; women.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Anxiety
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mothers*
  • Terrorism* / psychology