Taxonomy of the Psychosocial Consequences Caused by the Violence of Persecution of ETA's Network

By Martin-Peña, Javier; Rodríguez-Carballeira, Álvaro et al. | The Spanish Journal of Psychology, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Taxonomy of the Psychosocial Consequences Caused by the Violence of Persecution of ETA's Network


Martin-Peña, Javier, Rodríguez-Carballeira, Álvaro, Escartín, Jordi, Porrúa, Clara, Olff, Miranda, The Spanish Journal of Psychology


This paper delimits and analyzes the effects of the harassment perpetrated by ETA's terrorist network in the Basque Country. The aim was to provide a taxonomy of the consequences of psychological violence and to validate this taxonomy, by means of a content analysis of 37 testimonies of victims of terrorist violence. The taxonomy of consequences of psychological violence is made up by four components: 1. the effects on the context of the persons affected, 2. on their emotional state, 3. on cognition and 4. on behavior. Results show a predominance of contextual consequences and negative cognitions. Intra-observer and inter-observer reliability analysis showed high stability and reproducibility coefficients. This study shows that harassment and psychological violence have major consequences not only for victims but also for family members, threatened collectives and even the society as a whole.

Keywords: psychological violence, harassment, terrorist violence, violence of persecution, content analysis.

Este estudio delimita y analiza los efectos del acoso aplicado por el entramado terrorista de ETA en el País Vasco. El objetivo consiste en aportar una taxonomía de las consecuencias de la violencia psicológica y validar esta taxonomía, mediante un análisis de contenido de 37 testimonios de víctimas de la violencia terrorista. La taxonomía de consecuencias de la violencia psicológica se encuentra formada por cuatro componentes: 1. los efectos sobre el contexto de las personas afectadas, 2. sobre su estado emocional, 3. sobre la cognición y 4. sobre la conducta. Los resultados muestran una predominancia de las consecuencias contextuales y las cogniciones negativas. El análisis de la fiabilidad intraobservador e interobservador muestra unos adecuados coeficientes de estabilidad y reproducibilidad. Este estudio muestra que el acoso y la violencia psicológica tienen grandes consecuencias no solo para las víctimas sino para los familiares, los colectivos amenazados y para el conjunto de la sociedad.

Palabras clave: violencia psicológica, acoso, violencia terrorista, violencia de persecución, análisis de contenido.

ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna - Basque Homeland and Freedom) terrorist attacks over the past decades have had a great influence on the life of victims and the society as a whole. Besides terrorist attacks (e.g. bombings), violence has usually been characterized by psychological violence, coercion and harassment (e.g. threats and intimidations) specifically in the Basque Country. According to the Basque Ombudsman Ararteko (2009a), ETA's terrorist violence in the Basque Country can be named violence of persecution (term named by Gesto por la Paz, 2000) because it implies coercions and death threats to some collectives, by their belonging to a certain political party or certain professional sectors.

However, this type of violence has been less studied than physical violence, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2002), exists the need to include and research a form of violence that does not necessarily result in injury or death but which places a substantial burden on individuals, families, communities and health care systems worldwide (Krug, Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi, & Lozano, 2002). For instance, threats can be seen as a potential traumatic experience, which may be unpredictable, unpleasant, and cause feelings of intense helplessness (Nijdam, Olff, de Vries, Martens, & Gersons, 2008).

In this line, this paper defines the psychosocial effects of harassment and psychological violence strategies perpetrated by ETA's terrorist network in the Basque Country, from the analysis of a number of testimonies of persons who have suffered what is so-called violence of persecution. The aim is not to make a clinical assessment of the psychological harm of people who suffer from this form of violence, but rather to propose a taxonomy of the psychosocial consequences that these people may endure in their daily lives. …

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