Relationship between emotional climate and insecurity

Muratori, Marcela (1,2); Zubieta, Elena (1) (2018). 'Relationship between emotional climate and insecurity' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018.

Abstract

In Argentina, as in much of Latin America, the problem of insecurity is a social relevant issue, which has become the center of public concerns. Various studies reveal that being a victim or witness of a crime and high perceptions of insecurity have important psychological and social consequences. In this context, the present investigation proposes to analyze the relationship between the perception of the emotional climate and people’s well-being and factors associated with citizen insecurity. For this purpose, a correlational and non-experimental study, was carried out. The sample, intentional and non probabilistic, was composed of 516 Argentines (60.8% women, 39.2% men, average age = 28.22, SD = 13.00), who live in Buenos Aires’ city and surroundings. Although results show relatively high levels of social well-being, a negative emotional climate prevails, characterized by hopelessness, worry, hostility and insecurity. Regarding objective insecurity, it is verified that even though the majority of participants admit to have suffered some crime, there are no differences in the emotional climate and its correlates according to their victimization. However, in terms of subjective insecurity, it is observed that as fear of crime and perceived risk increases, there is less trust in institutions, there is more anger and aggression among people, and there is less joy, solidarity and mutual help behaviors. Also, social well-being is reduced in terms of social acceptance and community resilience in their both dimensions: community coping and collective self-esteem. In the same line, as regards the behavioral aspect of insecurity, a greater frequency of self-protection behaviors against crime causes people to perceive a worse emotional climate and have less social acceptance. Furthermore, differences are verified according to socio-demographic variables. In this sense, women feel more fear and perceive a greater risk in the face of crime and, therefore, are the ones who carry out more self-protection behaviors, in comparison with men. In relation to age, younger people perceive a worse emotional climate, characterized by fear, avoidance and worry. On the contrary, older people consider a more positive and supportive emotional climate. Finally, people who are located more to the right in ideological terms are those who perceive a climate of greater insecurity and hostility among people, and therefore, they are more afraid and have more self-protective behavior, than those orientated towards the left. It is concluded that, beyond objective insecurity, which must be controlled and ideally reduced, it is necessary to deepen the study of subjective insecurity, given its effects on the quality of life of people.

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