Psychological and Behavioral Factors of Individual Terrorists


Psychologicaland Behavioral Factors of Individual Terrorists

Suicidebombers are individuals who use bombs or other fighting weapons toattack people and die in the process. The suicide terrorism isconsidered as the last tactic of warfare that an individual can use.Currently, research has been conducted to determine what causes areasonable person to engage in a suicide bombing or get recruited asterrorists. Most of the suicide bombers lack personal disorders hencethere are other behavioral or psychological factors that force themto engage in terrorism. Social influence may affect the individualsto get recruited in terrorism (Canter,2009).Many suicide bombings are a politically-motivated incidence wherealtruism, revenge, and humiliation play a crucial role in shapingindividuals to get recruited and engage in suicide terrorism.Poverty, desire for honor, and religious fanaticism also contributesto such engagements. I support the fact that these psychological andbehavioral factors influence individuals to be recruited asterrorists and engage in suicide attacks.

Almostall the countries or states in the world participate in elections tochoose leaders who serve various government positions, for example,the head of a nation or state. Meanwhile, the opposition leaders andtheir supporters may get irritated or displeased with the electedgovernments. War may erupt between the government and the oppositiongroup in a country. In most cases, political movements are formedwhich involves terrorist groups intended to destabilize the existinggovernment so that their desired leaders can acquire the power(Abu-Lughod et al., 2016). That political movement convinces manyindividuals that when their desired leaders get into power, theywould benefit from employments, good health services among others.Following that perspective, a person may decide to get recruited in aterrorist group where he or she can access all types of weapons tofight for political change in a country.

Ifa fight erupts some of the people volunteer to be suicide bombers toprotect their homeland, leaders, family members and society at large.Before committing a suicide attack, an agreement can be made amongthose who wish to engage in suicide attacks. Some individualsvolunteer themselves without any beneficiaries to their familieswhile others do it in an exchange of money (Hofmann &amp Dawson,2014). Such a person commits a suicide crime due to poverty. Anagreement can be signed to all the beneficiaries before theparticipant commits a suicide bombing. It is a personal decision thatcannot be altered by anybody including the relative members of thebomber. It is a clear depiction that political oppression accompaniedby poverty can contribute to engagement of suicide attacks. However,poverty is an independent aspect that can influence people to engagein suicide bombings to improve the living conditions of thebeneficiaries. Research shows that inadequate education does notcause the individuals to commit suicide attacks because most ofAl-Qaeda terrorists have logical levels of education (Canter,2009).The attackers know how to operate various weapons which illiterate ormentally challenged people cannot control.

Religiondedication is another issue that people use as an excuse forcommitting suicide bombings. Jihadists and Muslims have a history ofterrorist groups past many years ago. A big number of the suicideterrorists commit suicide attacks for martyrdom as a service to theAllah. Even Koran prohibits people from committing suicide, butIslamic extremists believe that the attackers are holy fighters andshow faithfulness to the Allah (Post, 2009). Terrorism was somehowcreated by tribal leaders, for example, Hitler killed millions ofJews during the World War II, forcing the community to keep onrevenging until today. If a child is born in that society, the kidgrows following the religious and cultural beliefs of that religionor culture. With time as the child gets old, he may wish to befaithful to Allah by joining terrorist groups and commit suicidebombings.

Othersuicide bombers do it as revenge for their loved ones. Attacks forrevenge are performed due to anger from past events. The socialnetworks and access to the internet are also influencing young peoplewho get emotionally connected to their national societies that engagein terrorism attacks (Post, 2009). Young generation can access to theinternet and search the information about jihadist, ISIS or Al Qaedagroups where if interested they find means of getting recruited orforming such groups. Facebook is also used by young people to jointerrorist groups forgetting that, those are vulnerable groups whereit is hard to escape once recruited.

Inconclusion, many participants in suicide attacks are young boys andadult men. The main target of the suicide attackers are the civiliansor great leaders (Kershaw,2010).If a suicide bomber attacks such a group or kills a leader, he ishonored by his religious community. Participation in suicide missionshas a personal and communal significance to an individual (Kershaw,2010).Every suicide bomber engages in an attack to gain community approval,liberate homeland, and escape daily activities brought by poverty,defiance, boredom or anxiety. Many suicide bombings are performed bypeople linked with society based organizations. Public campaignsshould be conducted to teach people about the impacts of terrorismand suicide bombings in a country to reduce innocent killings.Politicians should not use terrorism to gain power or acquire illegalhomelands. Religious leaders should preach the importance of peace,unity, and togetherness among all religious groups.


Abu-Lughod,R. A., &amp Montoya, E. L. (2016). Altruistic and Anomic Suicide: ADurkheimian Analysis of Palestinian Suicide Bombers.&nbspJournalof Politics and Law,&nbsp9(4),30.

Canter,D., (2009). TheFaces of Terrorism: Multidisciplinary Perspectives:London: John Wiley &amp Sons Ltd.

Hofmann,D. C. &amp Dawson, L. L., (2014). The Neglected Role of CharismaticAuthority in the Study of Terrorist Groups and Radicalization,Studies in Conflict &amp Terrorism, 37:4, 348-368.

Kershaw,S. (2010, January 09). The Terrorist Mind: An Update. RetrievedSeptember 07, 2016, from

Post,J. M.,(2009).Reframing of Martyrdom and Jihad and the Socialization of SuicideTerrorists. PoliticalPsychology, 30(3),1-6.