Risk response over time: political compartmentalization of terrorism risk perception

Aki Koivula, Pekka Räsänen, Atte Oksanen, Teo Keipi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Societal threats are a growing concern in European democracies in light
of risks of terrorism. At the same time, we are witnessing a visible trend
of political polarization across the countries. Therefore, there is a need
to understand how risk perceptions have changed over time ideologically
and demographically. This article provides a novel look into risk
response over time while considering potential ideological links to the
phenomenon. The analysis is based on four comparable population surveys
collected between 2004 and 2017 (N¼7,775) in Finland. Findings
showed that terrorism risk perception was highest in 2004 and declined
during the 2010s despite multiple terrorist attacks in Western Europe.
Terrorism risk perception became ideologically based in 2014 and 2017,
and the decrease in terrorism was explained by the deepening of
political polarization. Overall, the findings reflect the evolution of risk
perception over time depending on values, attitudes and goals, here
linked to political ideology. These findings help us to deepen our understanding
of the significance of recent political movements and emerging
parties affecting not only political systems but also the realignment
of traditional parties.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • societal fear
  • terrorism
  • political affiliation
  • risk perception


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