Original Article

Security Journal

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 399-420

First online:

Gender-based perceptions of the 2001 anthrax attacks: Implications for outreach and preparedness

  • Christopher SalvatoreAffiliated withMontclair State University, Department of Justice Studies Email author 
  • , Brian J GormanAffiliated withTowson University, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice

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Extensive research dealing with gender-based perceptions of fear of crime has generally found that women express greater levels of fear compared to men. Further, studies have found that women engage in more self-protective behaviors in response to fear of crime, as well as have different levels of confidence in government efficacy relative to men. The majority of these studies have focused on violent and property crime; little research has focused on gender-based perceptions of the threat of bioterrorism. Using data from a national survey conducted by ABC News/Washington Post, this study contrasted perceptions of safety and fear in response to anthrax attacks among male and female respondents. Results indicated some gender differences in perceptions and responses to possible anthrax exposure, although not all achieved statistical significance. Results are discussed in relation to their implications for criminological theory, security and bioterrorism preparedness.


gender bioterrorism fear of crime anthrax terrorism