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

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

In recent times, the phenomenon of lone wolf terrorism has been observed with the social assumption that a radicalized individual is only guided by personal, social, and ethnic reasons to commit an ...
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Phenomenology and Social Psychology of Lone Wolf Radicalization and Terrorism

Pp. 70-80 (11)

DOI: 10.2174/9789814998338121010007

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


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.


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