Helms School of Government


Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)


Joseph Finck


domestic terrorism, extremism, right-wing, political violence, post-conflict societies, law enforcement


Political Science | Sociology


Research into the correlates of right-wing extremism has been focused on the group level, mainly ignoring the individual right-wing extremist behaviors, characteristics, and traits. Although group milieu strongly affects the ideology of individuals, personal decisions making often comes from a combination of unique experiences, cognitive abilities and biases, and differences in individual traits. This biographical study aimed to examine the life course events of twenty-five individual right-wing extremists identifying common biological and circumstantial correlates among and between the subjects. By analyzing the different correlates, this study created a matrix that identifies the correlates for significance. The results of the analysis created an individual right-wing extremist profile able to assist the United States law enforcement agencies, the intelligence community, and the criminal justice system by making a list of factors that can be used to identify individuals that are predisposed to the use of violence in the furtherance of their political, religious, and social ideologies. The data collected in this study suggests that a right-wing extremist who utilizes violence is a white male, radicalized under the age of 30, from a suburban or rural environment, has a high school education, has peers involved in right-wing extremist movements, having previously been exposed to traditional religion, married at least one time, and adhere to multiple right-wing extremist ideologies. Additionally, the right-wing extremist profile created in this study suggests that the individual is highly likely to be a military veteran with combat experience.