Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Female terrorists' bios belie stereotypes, study finds

Date:
May 15, 2012
Source:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Summary:
Much like their male counterparts, female terrorists are likely to be educated, employed and native residents of the country where they commit a terrorist act, according to new research.

Much like their male counterparts, female terrorists are likely to be educated, employed and native residents of the country where they commit a terrorist act, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Related Articles


The findings contradict stereotypes presented in previous studies that describe female terrorists as socially isolated and vulnerable to recruitment because they are uneducated, unemployed and from a foreign land, psychologists reported in a study published online in the APA journal Law and Human Behavior. These assumptions are not supported by evidence, according to the study authors.

"We discovered that some of the popular notions about female terrorists do not reflect what has occurred in the past," said the study's lead author, Karen Jacques, PhD. "A more realistic description is helpful because it provides insights into the social dynamics that might promote an individual's involvement in terrorist activities."

Researchers at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom examined archival biographical data from multiple sources on 222 female and 269 male terrorists connected to one of 13 conflicts involving nationalist-separatists, social revolutionaries or religious fundamentalists, including al Qaeda, the Irish Republican Army and the Popular Liberation Army of Colombia. The research was funded in part by a United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council grant. ESRC is the U.K.'s largest public organization for funding research on economic and social issues.

Jacques and her co-author, Paul J. Taylor, PhD, examined eight variables for each terrorist: age at first involvement, education, employment status, immigration status, marital status, religious conversion, criminal activity and activist connections.

The majority of both female and male terrorists were between 16 and 35 years old, native residents, employed, educated through secondary school, not converted from another religion and rarely involved in a previous crime, the study said. Compared to male terrorists, the researchers found, women had on average more education, with the majority continuing beyond secondary school, and were more likely to be divorced or widowed, less likely to be employed and less likely to be immigrants. Collectively, the findings for female terrorists indicated more of an emphasis on individual motivations, such as personal revenge for the death of a loved one, rather than collective engagement in terrorism, the authors said.

"A surprising finding was that, unlike for other criminals, there were very few instances of previous involvement in criminal activity among both females and males," said Jacques. "This could be because they were unwilling to confess to other crimes, because criminality could attract authorities' undue attention to potential terrorists, or the possibility that having a criminal career is not a significant precursor to terrorism."

About a third of both male and female terrorists had prior connections to terrorism activities via their families. However, more than 50 percent of those with family connections to terrorism indicated that family influence did not motivate them to carry out terrorist activities, the study said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association (APA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karen Jacques, Paul J. Taylor. Myths and Realities of Female-Perpetrated Terrorism.. Law and Human Behavior, 2012; DOI: 10.1037/h0093992

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association (APA). "Female terrorists' bios belie stereotypes, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515093915.htm>.
American Psychological Association (APA). (2012, May 15). Female terrorists' bios belie stereotypes, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515093915.htm
American Psychological Association (APA). "Female terrorists' bios belie stereotypes, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515093915.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins