Date of Conferral



Public Policy and Administration


Jessie Lee


Lone wolf terrorism is political violence perpetrated by individuals who act alone, who do not belong to an organized terrorist group or network, and whose tactics and methods are conceived and directed by the individual without any direct outside commitments or directions. The increase of domestic lone wolf terrorism continues to impact the safety and security of the United States, yet little is known about the potential predictors of this type of behavior. Using McCauley and Moskalenko’s framework of lone wolf terrorism as the foundation, the purpose of this nonparametric study was to examine the statistical association between certain elements of lone wolf terrorism including age, ethnicity, residency status, previous criminal activity, and whether family members exhibit radical ideologies, on predicting the probability of this behavior. Secondary data were acquired from the Department of Homeland Security’s Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the US (n = 250). These data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and chi-square as a test of association. Findings suggest that demographic variables (ethnicity, radical family, age, previous criminal activity, and residency status) are statistically associated with prevalence of lone wolf terrorism in the United States (p = .005). Results of this study provide some insight as to the ways individuals become involved in, and their ability to disengage, from domestic lone wolf terrorism. The social change implications of the study include providing empirical evidence to law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies in the United States about proactive identification of lone wolf terrorists. As this information may help prevent certain types of violent acts and improve the safety and security of the United States.