Adolescent Attachment Styles and their Relations to Radicalisation and Extremism

Lucia Tothova

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the presented text is to closely analyse the connection between attachment styles and adolescent risk-based behaviours, specifically those often associated with radicalisation and extremist-style practices. THEORETICAL BASE: While attachment styles develop in early childhood, the effects thereof extend throughout our entire lives. Some fundamental changes occur during adolescence, while a fundamental symbolic redefinition between child and parent is continuously recompiling. When parental figures are absent, unavailable, or when they withhold affection in place of rejection, children and adolescents form insecure attachment bonds to these figures and seek alternative means and strategies to fill their psychological needs. In some cases, these means are met through engaging in risky behaviours as acts which only exacerbate existing psychological and social problems. METHODS: We analysed data with a quantitative strategy, and the selected methodologies were distributed to respondents in the form of a questionnaire through an online platform. In total, 335 questionnaires were evaluated. OUTCOMES: We found an increased rate of insecure attachment styles among the adolescents from the data set. Using Spearman’s correlation coefficient, a negative correlation was apparent, though weak, in terms of strength and statistical significance. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Social work as a profession that helps people, and as such, is not untouched radicalistic, extremist practices and groups. Attachment styles appear to be one of the indicators for the adolescents that are more drawn towards radicalisation and extremism. Thus, if social workers can understand these factors about social attachment strategies, then they will be able to better understand behaviours that can result from them.

adolescent, attachment style, risk-based behaviours, radicalism, extremism

p. 23-39

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