Collective memories, political violence and mental health in Northern Ireland

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26 Citations (Scopus)


In 1987 one of the most salient incidents in Northern Ireland, involving mass casualties, occurred when a bomb exploded in a building near the war memorial in the centre of Enniskillen. A total of 63 people were injured and 11 were killed. The main aim of the present study was to investigate how salient this event was in present day Enniskillen and in a neighbouring town, known here as Lowtown, some 8 years after the original incident. The second aim was to examine how memories of that particular bomb are related to current psychological well-being. Based on interviews with a quota sample of 282 people it was found that relatively few people (68) included the Enniskillen bomb when asked to mention two Northern Irish events or changes that had taken place over the past 50 years that 'come to mind as important to you'. The majority of those who did mention the Enniskillen bomb came from Enniskillen and were Protestants. In addition, Protestants who mentioned the bomb and those respondents who lived in Lowtown and mentioned the bomb scored at a significantly higher level on the General Health Questionnaire (indicating poorer mental health).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes


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