The phenomenon of homegrown radicalization in the United States has become a disturbing trend for many Americans in the past decade. Many of these radicalized individuals raised in the United States come from affluent families and have had many of the opportunities that any other Americans are granted. In this thesis content analysis and case study examinations are used to explore the question of what is leading to individuals becoming radicalized in the United States. This study examines five cases of homegrown radicalization to determine the role that traumatic events, alienation, poverty, internet usage, a perceived divide between the West and Islam, overseas trips and social withdrawal play in the radicalization process. In this study the above mentioned factors were used to formulate seven hypotheses that could be tested against the five case studies in order to determine their validity. Four of the seven hypotheses were found to be supported in at least 80% of the cases they were tested against in this study and the remaining three hypotheses were supported in 1 or more of the cases that they were tested against. Any of these factors alone may not be the sole driving force of radicalization in the United States but they do help to gain a better overall understanding of the causes of homegrown terrorism.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-15-2015


Ryan K. Baggett

Department/Professional Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars


Safety, Security, and Emergency Management