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April 13, 1984

Terrorism: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Author Affiliations

Elizabeth General Medical Center Elizabeth, NJ

JAMA. 1984;251(14):1904. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340380080035

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This volume is based on a symposium held in 1979 that focused on four major areas of terrorism: ethics, "victimology," law enforcement personnel training, and research. In the decade of the 1970s there were approximately 2,000 deaths from international terrorist incidents. While this is but a tiny fraction in the overall scheme of worldwide wars and violence, the impact of terrorist activities made the issue a common public concern and created a new subscience. As a problem that affects human lives and minds, terrorism has become a medical concern. Terrorist acts tend to recur largely in about ten or so countries. Western democracies are highly represented on the list and communist countries infrequently, with Eastern bloc countries and Cuba rarely reporting terrorist incidents.

The terrorist operation of hostage taking is one that has captured the most attention and has invited the involvement of the psychiatrist as a participant in the