Terrorist acts increase public anxiety levels - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Terrorist acts increase public anxiety levels

Doug Schwartzsmith Doug Schwartzsmith
Jack Barile Jack Barile
Ben Saunders Ben Saunders
Francois Paquay Francois Paquay
Lisa Waskom Lisa Waskom
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

More than a decade after the 911 tragedy, the Boston marathon bombing and ricin letters sent to the nation' leaders are reopening old wounds.

"Yes, I think people are on edge, said local clinical psychologist Doug Schwartzsmith.

"The initial reaction is on more of a mass scale here is for the general public tends to be helplessness, anger and anxiety."

University of Hawaii psychology professor Jack Barile echoes that view:

"Random events like that can be terrifying and it can increase stress levels and part of that is because it inhibits the way you cope with the situation," he said.

For those stressed out by the events, mental health experts recommend that they tune the news coverage.

"There's definitely research that shows that media exposure watching videos like that can be traumatizing," Barile said.

But many feel connected by the events and say they're watching each news development much closer.

"This story ... I've been trying to follow it because it's a big deal," said University of Hawaii student Ben Saunders."

"This happened in Boston and you don't think of Boston as where that sort of thing will happen."

The Boston bombing has some people feeling less safe these days, especially at big events.

"I don't like major crowds and sometimes I avoid crowds because sometimes you never know what will happen. It's a bit sad," said U.H. Student Francois Paquay.

Honolulu resident Lisa Waskom said she's also watching the events closely but isn't losing any sleep over it.

"I'll definitely be thinking out it on the road. I'll be more cautious on the run but I'm not going to change what I'm doing because of it," she said.

Experts believe the public anxiety will eventually begin taper off once the facts regarding the terrorist activity becomes clearer.

"Certainly there can be lasting effects. The good news is people do recover and they recover fairly well with time," Barile said.


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