Development and Psychometric Testing of the Perceptions of Terrorism Questionnaire Short-Form (PTQ-SF)

Samuel J. Sinclair, Alice LoCicero


The September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have had an ongoing impact, transforming daily habits and attitudes in the United States. At the time of the attacks, social scientists had limited understanding of how people in the United States would think about or react to large-scale acts of terrorism in the US. This study contributes to a growing body of knowledge and theory in this area. We developed and psychometrically evaluated the 25-item Perceptions of Terrorism Questionnaire short-form (PTQ-SF), assessing eight constructs identified by the authors as recurrent themes in the general literature on terrorism (literature that is not specific to the US), including Perceived Threat of Terrorism, Faith in Government, and Fear/Impact of Terrorism. Psychometric evaluation of the PTQ demonstrated that it met acceptable standards for item internal consistency/convergent validity, item discriminant validity, internal consistency reliability, and floor/ceiling effects. Confirmatory factor analysis generally supported item groupings. Results support the PTQ-SF as a promising new measure of perceptions of terrorism.

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