Islamic radicals are far more likely to suffer depression and be socially isolated, according to a pioneering research study led by Queen Mary University of London.
The findings also indicate that members of the British Muslim community who less likely to become radicalized tend to be migrants not born in the U.K., have poor physical health, and have a higher number of friends and family, Medical Xpress reports.
For the study, researchers developed a new way of measuring risk of radicalization by asking participants about their sympathies and condemnation towards 16 terrorist actions (for example, use of suicide bombs to fight injustice). Those who showed most sympathies towards terrorist acts were deemed most at risk to radicalization, while those who showed most condemnation were believe to be most resistant.
The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS ONE, involved surveys of more than 600 men and women of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Muslim heritage in London and Bradford, aged 18-45. Respondents were also asked questions on a range of factors such as social capital, political engagement, perceived discrimination, religion, and general health.
“As a nation, we spend a great deal of time, effort and money on counter-terrorism – but virtually no attention is given to preventing radicalization before it has a chance to take hold,” said lead researcher Kamaldeep Bhui, a professor of cultural psychiatry and epidemiology.