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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The new millennium was not yet one year old when it was rocked by the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. How does the public regard the continued protection of individual rights, after this greatest terrorist attack in U.S. history? This has naturally been a topic of intense and thorough media reporting in the United States, and worldwide. In the uneasy months following the WTC attack, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Fordham University designed and conducted a survey of public opinions on terrorism, with several distinct objectives: 1) to question a representative sample of adults in Greater New York, including those in the vicinity of Ground Zero in New York; 2) to apply a previously standardized twenty point scale of general attitudes toward terrorism to compare with public opinions prior to 2001; and 3) to develop and use two new scales to precisely measure attitudes toward al-Qaeda terrorism in particular, and toward security versus individual liberties in the United States. Surprisingly, this terrorism mean of 6.8 after the 2001 terrorist attack was almost unchanged from the mean of 6.5 among ninety college students in 1993.

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APA Citation: Abdolian, L. F. & Takooshian, H. (2003). The USA Patriot Act: Civil liberties, the media, and public opinion. Fordham Urban Law Journal, 30, 1429-1453.

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