Psychological Assessment and Interventions for Individuals Linked to Radicalization and Lone Wolf Terrorism

Phenomenology and Social Psychology of Lone Wolf Radicalization and Terrorism

Author(s): Carlo Lazzari*, Abdul Nusair and Marco Rabottini

Pp: 70-80 (11)

DOI: 10.2174/9789814998338121010007

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Objectives: The current research uses a phenomenological and socio-psychological approach to understand radicalization and terrorism in the lone wolf and profile its psychological traits.

Methods: A Delphi group of twelve experts in radicalization, selected from psychiatric professions, met regularly to discuss the aspects of the topic and interpret it according to a phenomenological social psychology approach. A mixed-method research approach was used for analysis. The population consisted of service users and patients of a psychiatric service covering a regional area in England with high inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts. In the first stage, the panel expressed opinions about the sociopsychiatric aspects of radicalization. A confirmatory sign test computed the panel’s agreement for the significance of the emerging themes.

Results: The phenomenological analysis has captured dominant behaviors, feelings, and attitudes in people at risk of radicalization. At the same time, the sign test expressed the statistical significance: 1) emotions (panel agreement p = n.s.) inclusive of anger and frustration for societal rejection, 2) behaviors (p<0.01) inclusive of change of character, and accessing radicalized web sites, 3) prejudicial thoughts (p = n.s.) such as affiliation to radicalized individuals and acquaintances (p<0.001), 4) weapons fascination and thoughts (p<0.01), and 5) desire of being a hero (p = n.s.)

Conclusions: The current research captured central aspects of radicalization’s social psychology in the lone wolf and the phenomenological aspects indicating a risk of radicalization and a predisposition to conduct terrorist acts.

Keywords: Assessment, Delphi Groups, lone wolf, Phenomenology, Radicalization, Social Psychology, Terrorism.

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