chapter  6
18 Pages

Violence, hope and optimism

Can negative events have positive outcomes?
WithSramana Majumdar

A situation of protracted conflict is not only related to negative emotional and behavioural outcomes but also to positive human capacities like hope and optimism. Exploring how exposure to conflict related violence may predict the resources of hope and optimism is important to understanding the ways in which violence affects human society. Research showed that collective exposure had a significant correlation with interest and perspective, though the predictive relationship was not significant. Interestingly at increasingly levels of belief in divine power (which is related to religiosity and spiritual faith) the relationship between ETV and interest and perspective was less negative, showing that this aspect of mindset has a protective function against the negative effects of exposure to collective violence. Finally collective exposure to violence significantly predicted decrease in optimism, though the relationship was not very strong. The discussion highlights the complex social and psychological networks that sustain positive emotions in conflict, particularly the role of religiosity and religious belief that has an essential place in the narrative on exposure to political violence, extremist mindset and hope.