ExtremismFactors Linked to Radical Attitudes and Intentions

Published 28 July 2021

There are many risk factors associated with radical attitudes, intentions, and behaviors (including terrorism) by individuals in democratic countries. A new systematic review finds that the most significant factors are traditional criminogenic and social-psychological factors.

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in Campbell Systematic Reviews identified and examined more than 100 risk and protective factors for radical attitudes, intentions, and behaviors (including terrorism) in democratic countries. 

The authors say that these factors can be grouped into five domains:  

·  socio-demographic and background factors,  

·  psychological and personality trait factors, 

·  attitudinal and subjective belief related factors,  

·  experiential factors, and  

·  traditional criminogenic factors

While there is great variation, the most significant factors are traditional criminogenic and social-psychological factors.  

“Our results suggest that some of the factors most commonly targeted by counter violent extremism interventions, such as social integration, have only small relationships with radicalization. On the other hand, traditional criminogenic factors, such as low self-control, have far more robust relationships,” said lead author Dr. Michael Wolfowicz of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He noted that the findings suggest that interventions commonly used to combat criminological outcomes may also be useful for fighting radicalization.

“Additionally, our results suggest a need to revamp the way that risk assessment tools are constructed, as not all factors included in such tools should be given the same weight,” said Wolfowicz. “We hope that our results will contribute to the development of more evidence-based practice in this field.”