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Student attitudes to the nuclear arms race (1984 survey). Research Report

Jennings, P.J., Storey, D., Rodda, J.L. and Zweigenhaft, R.L. (1986) Student attitudes to the nuclear arms race (1984 survey). Research Report. School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, W.A..

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This is a study of students' knowledge, attitudes, expectations and fears about the nuclear arms race. It was conducted during October 1984 on a sample of 659 upper high school and first year University students in Western Australia. The results indicate a high degree of concern about the nuclear arms race, with females expressing more concern than males. Tertiary students expressed greater anxiety and pessimism about the arms race than high school students. The most common reactions were expressed in terms of fear, anger and frustration. Some students indicated that fears about nuclear war had affected their career and family plans. There was overwhelming support for the proposition that the Government should supply more information about the effects of nuclear war. The level of knowledge of the students about nuclear weapons was adequate only on the non-technical aspects. The survey did not indicate any correlation between increased knowledge about nuclear weapons and increased anxiety. Amongst all groups there was strong support for the nuclear freeze as an initial step towards nuclear disarmament. Many students advocate political action such as marches, demonstrations and lobbying campaigns to reduce the threat of nuclear war. The authors conclude that students are very worried about nuclear war and that they want more information about nuclear weapons. The results indicate that this information is unlikely to have an adverse psychological impact on the students.

Item Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Publisher: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Murdoch University
Notes: Revised final report
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