A new study from Bar Ilan University in Israel suggests that women are more likely to become anxious due to ISIS threats, (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) especially if they are from a lower socioeconomic background.

The study was conducted on thousand Israeli adults and the findings were that women from a lower socioeconomic status who had elevated levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) were all related to ISIS threat anxiety. Exposure to ISIS on the internet and media, and having low resilience were also linked to ISIS anxiety.

Yaakov Hoffman from Bar Ilan University, who published the research in Stress & Health Journal said, “The findings may have important implications for addressing heightened anxiety in the event of elevated terrorist threats in terms of showing that exposure to ISIS media is detrimental to one’s mental health and increases ISIS anxiety beyond one’s level of general anxiety,” he added, “Furthermore, the results may suggest that increasing one’s optimism and resilience may mitigate the ISIS threat sensitivity, especially in individuals with PTSD symptoms.”

The research also found that people in countries that were not directly targeted by ISIS could also feel the anxiety of a future ISIS threat because of ISIS’s “skilful use of social media”.

ISIS has been carrying out terror attacks in many countries including Germany, France, UK and USA killing hundreds of people and wounding thousands. The generalised anxiety around terrorism has been on a high and world leaders are getting together to try to eliminate the fear that ISIS has been able to create in the entire world using the internet and social media.

Even though there have been many different kinds of research on the impact of ISIS on social media, there hasn’t been a conclusive research on ISIS anxiety and this research by the Bar Ilan University in Israel is the first of its kind.

Source: Who is afraid of ISIS? ISIS anxiety and its correlates. Stress and Health, 2017

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