Exploring female involvement in acts of terrorism and mass shootings : a systematic review

Nicholson, D and Allely, CS ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7640-9505 2021, 'Exploring female involvement in acts of terrorism and mass shootings : a systematic review' , Journal of Criminal Psychology, 11 (4) , pp. 335-356.

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The primary objective of the present systematic review was: (1) To explore the current literature which assesses the incidence of completed or attempted mass shooting events in which a female party acted either alone or as an accomplice; (2) Explore the involvement of females in the planning or execution of acts of terrorism; (3) Evaluate the pathology of females involved in these acts of extreme violence; (4) Highlight any gender-specific pathological and environmental risk factors associated with the planning or completion of mass shooting, spree killing, or terrorist attack events. Using the 27-item PRISMA guidelines (Moher, Liberati, Tetzlaff & Altman, 2009), the present systematic review explored peer reviewed literature published between 1908 and September 2020 using six databases [SalfordUniversityJournals@Ovid; Journals@Ovid Full Text; APA PsycArticles Full Text; APA PsycExtra; APA PsycInfo; Ovid MEDLINE(R)], in addition to conducting a grey literature search on ‘Google Scholar’ using specific search terms, predetermined following use of the PICO framework. Findings of the review did identify several distinguishing characteristics exclusive to females allied to terror organisations; including lower levels of extremism and religious ideology, lower age of radicalisation, higher levels of education than currently hypothesised and the significance of relational affiliation with extremist causes. The identification of distinguishing characteristics such as lower age of radicalisation, in addition to lower levels of extremism amongst females allied to terrorist groups is argued to present an opportunity for anti-terror interventions. Moreover, these findings develop our current understanding by offering an alternative to the current view that females involved with terrorist organisations, particularly those related to jihadi-inspired terrorism, do so out of the desire to gain financial and educational reward. While the synthesis of descriptive characteristics relating to female terrorists was achieved, data relating to female mass shooters was scant and relied upon case study review and discussion. As a result, identification of precipitating psychopathological and environmental triggers was difficult, however, there does appear to be a higher proportion of female mass shooters targeting current or previous places of employment, disproportionately compared to male mass shooters. Additionally, the inclusion of case study discussion enabled an observation that females are more likely to be in contact with the police prior to undertaking such acts of violence. As such, although the current literature available for academic scrutiny of this phenomenon is scant, the above finding does develop our current understanding and offer an opportunity for intervention.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Criminal Psychology
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 2009-3829
Related URLs:
Depositing User: CS Allely
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2021 12:52
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 16:38
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/61309

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