In the present study, we applied the quest for significance model of radicalization to explain the use of political violence. According to the model, when people experience loss of personal significance (e.g., due to social rejection, achievement failures, or abuse) the motivation to restore significance may push them toward the use of extreme means. We tested this prediction in a sample of individuals who have committed ideologically motivated crimes in the United States (n = 1496). We found that experiences of economic and social loss of significance were separate and positive predictors related to the use of violence by perpetrators of ideologically motivated crimes. We also found evidence that the presence of radicalized others (friends but not family members) in the individuals' social network increased their likelihood of using violence.
Jasko, Katarzyna, Gary LaFree, and Arie Kruglanski. 2016. "Quest for Significance and Violent Extremism: The Case of Domestic Radicalization." Political Psychology (November). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pops.12376/abstract