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The Dark Tetrad and radicalization: personality profiles in young women


Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political AggressionJournal abstract

Women’s religious radicalization and the specific factors at play in this process remain largely understudied. Psychopathic, narcissistic, Machiavellian, and sadistic traits constitute the Dark Tetrad of personality, which has been shown to be associated with several antisocial tendencies. Concretely, it has been found that the Dark Tetrad traits predict radicalized cognitions and behaviors in women. The aim of this study was (a) to extract homogeneous groups of participants using cluster analysis based on Dark tetrad traits and (b) to examine whether clusters based on Dark tetrad traits differed in both predictors (perceived discrimination and religious involvement) and consequences (radicalized cognitions and behaviors) of radicalization. Sample included 643 French college women who completed self-report questionnaires. Psychopathic, narcissistic, Machiavellian, and sadistic traits were moderately correlated. The cluster analysis resulted in four groups: a Low Traits group, a Moderate Machiavellian group, a Narcissistic group, and a group high on sadistic, psychopathic and Machiavellian traits (17% of the sample), which was characterized by the highest levels of radicalized cognitions and behaviors. This study suggests that a significant minority of non-clinical college women is characterized by the presence of high levels of Dark Tetrad traits and is at risk of religious radicalization.

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