Living together in socially polarized contexts: Risk and protective factors in a sample of Canadian college students

Author/s Diana Miconi, Cécile Rousseau
Publishing Year 2020 Issue 2020/1
Language Italian Pages 19 P. 55-73 File size 264 KB
DOI 10.3280/ERP2020-001003
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Xenophobic sentiments, discrimination and hate crimes and incidents are on the rise across the globe. Although the relation between attitudes and behaviors is not linear, population-wide attitudes toward legitimizing some forms of violence may represent a risk factor and fuel social polarization, which can in turn facilitate the use of violence in the name of a radical ideology among vulnerable individuals. Thus understanding the risk and protective factors associated with positive attitudes towards violent radicalization is an important starting point to inform ef-fective prevention programs. However, scant empirical studies investigated posi-tive attitudes towards violent radicalization among young people, who are at in-creased risk of violent radicalization. In 2015 a sample of students attending 14 colleges in Quebec (74% aged between 16-21 years, 71% women) participated in an online survey aimed to investigate positive attitudes towards violent radicaliza-tion and the associated risk (i.e., discrimination, exposure to violence, depression, polarized collective identity) and protective factors (i.e., positive future orientation, social support, religiosity). Two years later, the same online survey was conducted in six colleges, to examine at a preliminary level the evolution of the phenomenon across time. The present paper summarizes the results of this research project with the final objective of improving our understanding of violent radicalization among adolescents and early adults, to identify potential avenues for prevention and intervention.

  1. Alam Y., & Husband C. (2013). Islamophobia, community cohesion and counter-terrorism policies in Britain. Patterns of Prejudice, 47(3): 235-252.
  2. Bail C. A., Argyle L. P., Brown T. W., Bumpus J. P., Chen H., Hunzaker M. F., & Volfovsky A. (2018). Exposure to opposing views on social media can increase political polarization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(37): 9216-9221.
  3. Beaumont C., Leclerc D., & Frenette É. (2018). Evolution de divers aspects associés à la violence dans les écoles québécoises 2013-2015-2017. Quebec, Canada: Chaire de recherche sur la sécurité et la violence en milieu éducatif.
  4. Bergeron E. (2019). L’avance conservatrice dans la Capitale-Nationale tient bon malgré la montée du Bloc [The conservative gain in Quebec City resists despite the rise of the Bloc]. Le Journal de Quebec. -- Retrieved from
  5. Bhui K., Everitt B., & Jones E. (2014). Might depression, psychosocial adversity, and limited social assets explain vulnerability to and resistance against violent radicalisation? PLoS One, 9(9): 1-10.
  6. Bhui K., Warfa N., & Jones E. (2014). Is violent radicalisation associated with poverty, migration, poor self-reported health and common mental disorders?. PLoS One, 9(3): e90718.
  7. Brock R. L., Barry R. A., Lawrence E., Rolffs J., Cerretani J., & Zarling A. (2015). Online administration of questionnaires assessing psychological, physical, and sexual aggression: Establishing psychometric equivalence. Psychology of Violence, 5(3): 294-304.
  8. Cherkaoui T., & Dewan K. (2019). War on terror 2.0: The rise of white supremacy terrorism. Washington DC, USA: TRT World Research Centre.
  9. Coid J. W., Bhui K., MacManus D., Kallis C., Bebbington P., & Ullrich S. (2016). Extremism, religion and psychiatric morbidity in a population-based sample of young men. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 209(6): 491-497.
  10. Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (2019). Les actes haineux à caractère xénophobe, notamment islamophobe: Résultats d’une recherche menée à travers le Québec. -- Retrieved from
  11. Derogatis L. R., Lipman R. S., Rickels K., Uhlenhuth E. H., & Covi L. (1974). The Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL): A self‐report symptom inventory. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 19(1): 1-15.
  12. Dick S. (2009). Homophobic hate crimes and hate incidents: Equality and Human Rights Commission.
  13. Eisenman D. P., & Flavahan L. (2017). Canaries in the coal mine: Interpersonal violence, gang violence, and violent extremism through a public health prevention lens. International review of psychiatry, 29(4): 341-349. DOI: 10.1080/09540261.2017.1343527.
  14. Elgar F. J., Pförtner T.-K., Moor I., De Clercq B., Stevens G. W., & Currie C. (2015). Socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent health 2002-2010: a time-series analysis of 34 countries participating in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study. The Lancet, 385(9982): 2088-2095.
  15. Ellis B. H., Abdi S. M., Lazarevic V., White M. T., Lincoln A. K., Stern J. E., & Horgan J. G. (2016). Relation of psychosocial factors to diverse behaviors and attitudes among Somali refugees. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(4): 393-408.
  16. Esteban J., & Schneider G. (2008). Polarization and Conflict: Theoretical and Empirical Issues: Introduction. Journal of Peace Research, 131-141.
  17. Frounfelker R. L., Frissen T., Vanorio I., Rousseau C., & d’Haenens L. (2019). Exploring the discrimination-radicalization nexus: empirical evidence from youth and young adults in Belgium. International journal of public health, 1-12.
  18. Gill P., Horgan J., & Deckert P. (2014). Bombing alone: Tracing the motivations and antecedent behaviors of lone‐actor terrorists. Journal of forensic sciences, 59(2): 425-435. DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.12312
  19. Gorsuch R. L., & McPherson S. E. (1989). Intrinsic/extrinsic measurement: I/E-revised and single-item scales. Journal for the Scientific study of Religion, 348-354.
  20. Hankir A., Carrick F. R., & Zaman R. (2017). Part I: Muslims, social inclusion and the West. Exploring challenges faced by stigmatized groups. Psychiatr Danub, 29(Suppl 3): 164-172.
  21. Institut de la statistique Québec (2016). Le travail rémunéré pendant les études et la santé mentale des jeunes: le nombre d’heures travaillées compte. Gouvernement du Québec.
  22. Institute for Economics and Peace (2019). Global Peace Index 2018: Measuring the impact of terrorism. Retrieved from
  23. Kundnani A. (2014). The Muslims are coming!: Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic war on terror. Verso Trade.
  24. Langlois S. (2007). Sociologie de la ville de Québec. Les Cahiers des dix, 61: 193-213.
  25. Luhtanen R., & Crocker J. (1992). A collective self-esteem scale: Self-evaluation of one's social identity. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 18(3): 302-318. DOI: 10.1177/0146167292183006
  26. McGilloway A., Ghosh P., & Bhui K. (2015). A systematic review of pathways to and processes associated with radicalization and extremism amongst Muslims in Western societies. International review of psychiatry, 27(1): 39-50. DOI: 10.3109/09540261.2014.992008
  27. Miconi D., Calcagnì A., Mekki-Berrada A., & Rousseau C. (under review). Are there local differences in support for violent radicalization? A study on college students in the province of Quebec, Canada. Political Psychology.
  28. Miconi D., Frounfelker R. L., Whiteley T., Mekki-Berrada A., & Rousseau C. (under review). Discrimination and sympathy for violent radicalization: The protective role of intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity.
  29. Miconi D., Frounfelker R. L., Zoldan Y., & Rousseau C. (in press). Rethinking radicalization leading to violence as a global health issue. In: S. Okpaku (Ed.). Innovations in global mental health. New York: Springer Nature.
  30. Miconi D., Oulhote Y., Hassan G., & Rousseau C. (2020). Sympathy for violent radicalization among college students in Quebec (Canada): The protective role of a positive future orientation. Psychology of Violence.
  31. Miconi D., & Rousseau C. (in corso di stampa). Another way out: A positive youth development (PYD) approach to the study of violent radicalizaton in Quebec (Canada). In: N. Wiium & R. Dimitrova (Eds.). Handbook of positive outh development in a global context. Research, policy and practice applications. New York: Springer.
  32. Misiak B., Samochowiec J., Bhui K., Schouler-Ocak M., Demunter H., Kuey L., Dom G. (2019). A systematic review on the relationship between mental health, radicalization and mass violence. European Psychiatry, 56: 51-59.
  33. Moskalenko S., & McCauley C. (2009). Measuring political mobilization: The distinction between activism and radicalism. Terrorism and Political Violence, 21(2): 239-260. DOI: 10.1080/09546550902765508
  34. Noh S., Beiser M., Kaspar V., Hou F., & Rummens J. (1999). Perceived racial discrimination, depression, and coping: A study of Southeast Asian refugees in Canada. Journal of health and social behavior, 193-207. DOI: 10.2307/2676348
  35. Perry B., & Scrivens R. (2015). Right-wing extremism in Canada: An environmental scan. Ottawa, ON: Public Safety Canada.
  36. Potvin M. (2016). Interethnic relations and racism in Quebec. In: S. Gervais, C. Kirkey, & J. Rudy (Eds.). Quebec Questions: Quebec Studies for the Twenty-First Century (2nd ed., pp. 267-286). Toronto, Ontario: Oxford University Press.
  37. R Core Team (2017). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
  38. Réseau Réussite Montréal (2018). Dossiers thématiques: jeunes issus de l’immigration. [Thematic dossiers: young people with an immigration background]. -- Retrieved from
  39. Rousseau C., & Drapeau A. (2004). Santé mentale - Chapitre 11. In Institut de la statistique Québec (Ed.). Santé et bien-etre, immigrants récents au Québec: une adaptation réciproque? Etude auprès des communautés culturelles 1998-1999 (pp. 211-245). Montréal: Les Publications du Québec.
  40. Rousseau C., Hassan G., Miconi D., Lecompte V., Mekki-Berrada A., El Hage H., & Oulhote Y. (2019). From social adversity to sympathy for violent radicalization: the role of depression, religiosity and social support. Archives of Public Health, 77(1): 45.
  41. Rousseau C., Hassan G., & Oulhote Y. (2018). And if there were another way out? Questioning the prevalent radicalization models. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 108(5-6): e633-e635.
  42. Rousseau C., Hassan G., Rousseau-Rizzi A., Michalon-Brodeur V., Oulhote Y., Mekki-Berrada A., & El Hage H. (2018). Adversité psychosociale, détresse psychologique et sympathie pour la radicalisation violente chez les collégiens du Québec. Cahiers de la sécurité et de la justice, 43: 158-166.
  43. Rousseau C., Miconi D., Frounfelker R. L., Hassan G., & Oulhote Y. (2020). A repeated cross-sectional study of sympathy for violent radicalization in Canadian college students. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
  44. Rousseau C., Oulhote Y., Lecompte V., Mekki-Berrada A., Hassan G., & El Hage H. (2019). Collective identity, social adversity and college student sympathy for violent radicalization. Transcultural Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1177/1363461519853653
  45. Saigh P. (1997). The children’s future orientation scale. New York: City University of New York Graduate School.
  46. Schmid A. P. (2013). Radicalisation, de-radicalisation, counter-radicalisation: A conceptual discussion and literature review. The Hague: International Centre for Counter-terrorism (ICCT).
  47. Simon B., Reichert F., & Grabow O. (2013). When dual identity becomes a liability: Identity and political radicalism among migrants. Psychological science, 24(3): 251-257.
  48. Sioufi R., & Bourhis R. Y. (2018). Acculturation and linguistic tensions as predictors of Quebec Francophone and Anglophone desire for internal migration in Canada. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 37(2): 136-159. DOI: 10.1177/0261927X17714571
  49. Sklad M., & Park E. (2017). Examining the potential role of education in the prevention of radicalization from the psychological perspective. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 23(4): 432-437.
  50. Statistics Canada (2017). Immigration and ethnocultural diversity: Key results from the 2016 Census. -- Retrieved from
  51. Stevenson G. (1999). Community besieged: The Anglophone minority and the politics of Quebec. Montreal, Quebec, Canada McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  52. Turbide O., Vincent D., & Laforest M. (2008). Les «X» à Québec: La construction discursive d’un groupe exclusif. Recherches sociographiques, 49(1): 87-112.
  53. van Buuren S., & Groothuis-Oudshoorn K. (2010). Mice: Multivariate imputation by chained equations in R. Journal of statistical software, 45(3): 1-67.
  54. Verkuyten M. (2018). Religious fundamentalism and radicalization among Muslim minority youth in Europe. European Psychologist, 23: 21-31.
  55. Vidino L., Marone F., & Entenmann E. (2017). Fear thy neighbor: Radicalization and Jihadist attacks in the West. Milan: Ledizioni.
  56. Weine S., Eisenman D. P., Kinsler J., Glik D. C., & Polutnik C. (2017). Addressing violent extremism as public health policy and practice. Behavioral sciences of terrorism and political aggression, 9(3): 208-221. DOI: 10.1080/19434472.2016.1198413
  57. World Health Organization (2008). Preventing violence and reducing its impact: how development agencies can help. Geneva: World Health Organization.
  58. Younis T., & Jadhav S. (2019). Islamophobia in the National Health Service: An Ethnography of Institutional Racism in PREVENT’s Counter-Radicalisation Policy. Sociology of Health and Illness: a journal of medical sociology.
  59. Zimet G. D., Dahlem N. W., Zimet S. G., & Farley G. K. (1988). The multidimensional scale of perceived social support. Journal of personality assessment, 52(1): 30-41.

Diana Miconi, Cécile Rousseau, Vivere insieme in contesti di polarizzazione sociale: fattori di rischio e di protezione in un campione di giovani studenti canadesi in "EDUCATIONAL REFLECTIVE PRACTICES" 1/2020, pp 55-73, DOI: 10.3280/ERP2020-001003