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Hostage-taking: motives, resolution, coping and effects

  • David A. Alexander and Susan Klein

Summary

Taking hostages has a long history as a method, with variable effectiveness, of securing concessions from individuals, organisations and governments. More recently, it has become a popular tactic among terrorist organisations. Although the resilience of individuals should never be underestimated, there is evidence that being taken hostage can have enduring effects, particularly on children. Individuals vary in how they cope with such an experience, both during and subsequent to it. The literature demonstrates that the research base is limited, and many important questions remain to be answered. Hostage-taking is an area of clinical and scientific interest. Apart from the need to establish the most effective post-incident interventions for individual hostages and their families, there are opportunities to develop further insights into the dynamics and effects of unequal power relationships.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Professor David A. Alexander, Aberdeen Centre for Trauma Research, Faculty of Health and Social Care, The Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen AB10 7QG, UK. Email: d.a.alexander@rgu.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Hostage-taking: motives, resolution, coping and effects

  • David A. Alexander and Susan Klein
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