We test whether significant differences in mental illness exist in a matched sample of lone- and group-based terrorists. We then test whether there are distinct behavioral differences between lone-actor terrorists with and without mental illness. We then stratify our sample across a range of diagnoses and again test whether significant differences exist. We conduct a series of bivariate, multivariate, and multinomial statistical tests using a unique dataset of 119 lone-actor terrorists and a matched sample of group-based terrorists. The odds of a lone-actor terrorist having a mental illness is 13.49 times higher than the odds of a group actor having a mental illness. Lone actors who were mentally ill were 18.07 times more likely to have a spouse or partner who was involved in a wider movement than those without a history of mental illness. Those with a mental illness were more likely to have a proximate upcoming life change, more likely to have been a recent victim of prejudice, and experienced proximate and chronic stress. The results identify behaviors and traits that security agencies can utilize to monitor and prevent lone-actor terrorism events. The correlated behaviors provide an image of how risk can crystalize within the individual offender and that our understanding of lone-actor terrorism should be multivariate in nature.
A False Dichotomy? Mental Illness and Lone-Actor Terrorism
22 October 2014
Terrorism, the Internet and the Social Media Advantage: Exploring how terrorist organizations exploit aspects of the internet, social media and how these same platforms could be used to counter-violent extremism
Extreme hatred revisiting the hate crime and terrorism relationship to determine whether they are “close cousins” or “distant relatives”
Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism: An Analysis of the Current Considerations and Barriers Inhibiting the Adoption of Counterterrorism Protective Security Measures
200+ Academic Theses (Ph.D. and MA) on Terrorism- and Counter-Terrorism - related Issues, written in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, and Norwegian