Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Stephen L. Crites


The current study examined the effects of cartel violence and terrorism threat on people's judgments, emotions and behaviors in response to the threat. It was hypothesized that prior threat experience, perception of threat severity, negative emotions, and attitudes toward authorities would influence trust in federal and local authorities for protection against the threat of cartel violence and terrorism. It was also expected that trust in authorities would increase compliance to authority recommendations to prepare for the threat. The sample consisted of 592 University of Texas at El Paso Introduction to Psychology students and El Paso community members. Participants completed an online survey and were assigned to read a cartel violence threat article or a terrorism threat article. Participants reported their judgments, emotions, and compliance behaviors in response to the threat posed. Results revealed that attitudes toward local authorities and trust in local authorities for protection against threats were lower than for federal authorities. A measured variable path analysis revealed that threat experience and perception of threat severity increased anger and fear in response to the future threat. Attitudes toward authorities was the only significant predictor of trust in authorities. In addition, perception of threat severity, attitudes, trust, and fear predicted compliance to authority recommendations. Cartel violence and terrorism threat had several different effects on judgments and emotions and more importantly, several factors were found to be related to compliance behaviors. The ultimate goal for authorities is to ensure the public's safety when there is a possibility of a crisis; thus future research should continue to explore the effects of external threats in an effort to decrease the negative consequences these threats can have.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

201 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Nishad Jabeen