Psychological Reactions to the Nuclear War Threat

Thomas M. Skovholt, Richard C. Williams, Cynthia Steffen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In three studies we investigated denial and related concepts ('phenomena of make believe', 'psychic numbing', 'blotting out the idea' and 'veil of denial') as the predominant human psychological responses to the nuclear war threat. We found support for this assertion within the subjects' emotional reactions of overwhelming fear and sadness. To reduce the paralyzing effect of the denial response, we suggest three steps: immersing ourselves in the negative affect, presenting moderate fear arousal messages, and promoting active involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalMedicine and War
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

Keywords

  • Denial
  • Nuclear war threat
  • Social activity

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