Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

Countering Radicalization: An Empirical Examination from a Life Psychological Perspective

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Life psychology has emerged as an integrative framework theory that has been applied in interventions preventing and countering radicalization processes. Central to this theory is the experience of living in a safe and secure sociocultural context, designated as life attachment and conceptualized as a root cause of radicalization. Furthermore, the theory emphasizes the interplay between generic life tasks (e.g., participating in community activities) and skills (e.g., taking one's own and others' perspectives into consideration) through which the individual can develop and reach a good-enough life attachment. A deficiency in development of life skills is a risk factor, as it functions as an underlying mechanism regarding the relationship between insecure life attachment and extremism. Through cross-national samples from the United States (n = 322) and Denmark (n = 364), the present article operationalizes and validates the central concepts of life skills and life attachment. Furthermore, these measures are examined in a statistical model hypothesizing insecure life attachment as a root cause in relation to violent extremism and deficient life skills as a risk factor. Consequently, the study draws attention to how generic life skills can be developed as a way of preventing and countering radicalization.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPeace and Conflict
Pages (from-to)211-225
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

    Research areas

  • Extremism, Intervention, Life psychology, Radicalization, Risk factors, extremism, ATTACHMENT, risk factors, SAFETY, radicalization, UNCERTAINTY, ROOTS, intervention

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