Emotional and Behavioral Consequences of Bioterrorism

Planning a Public Health Response

Published in: The Milbank Quarterly, v. 82, no. 3, Sep. 2004, p. 413-455

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Bradley D. Stein, Terri Tanielian, David Eisenman, Donna J. Keyser, M. Audrey Burnam, Harold Alan Pincus

Read More

Access further information on this document at The Milbank Quarterly

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Millions of dollars have been spent improving the public health system's bioterrorism response capabilities. Yet relatively little attention has been paid to precisely how the public will respond to bioterrorism and how emotional and behavioral responses might complicate an otherwise successful response. This article synthesizes the available evidence about the likely emotional and behavioral consequences of bioterrorism to suggest what decision makers can do now to improve that response. It examines the emotional and behavioral impact of previous bioterrorism-like events and summarizes interviews with experts who have responded to such events or conducted research on the effects of communitywide disasters. The article concludes by reflecting on the evidence and experts' perspectives to suggest actions to be taken now and future policy and research priorities.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.