Adolescence is a critical period for identity development characterized by new personal and social opportunities, but also by risks, such as feelings of loneliness and personal dissatisfaction, which can expose youths to potentially harmful influences and behaviors such as radical ideas and acts. Despite this general pattern, young immigrants may face even more complex, multiform and, therefore, riskier paths. Based on a qualitative approach, the present study explored the potential risk and protective factors of radical thinking and behavior in both autochthonous and immigrant adolescents living in southern Italy. Four focus groups were conducted using a semi-structured question route that comprised topics such as identity, sense of belonging to the sociocultural community, religion and family relationships. Each focus group consisted of six to eight adolescents aged 14-18 years and was balanced for gender and ethnicity. The discussions were audiotaped and then transcribed verbatim. The analysis followed the process of data reduction and generation of themes, which allowed an accurate reading of the possible risk and protective factors of radical thinking and behavior. The main emerged themes were “the role of national (Italian) identity”, “the sense of belonging to the ethnic or civic community”, “discrimination”, “the influence of the family” and “the religious issue”. Generally, (a) lower levels of national identity and lower sense of belonging to the ethnic or civic community, (b) a “feeling of difference” from peers, and, for immigrant adolescents, (c) the perception of being “in the middle” and “missing a clear integration strategy” were reported as risk factors promoting potential radicalization pathways. In contrast, positive family relationships, especially involving mother and adolescent child, were stated as protective factors. Religion was considered only as a posteriori justification of radical behaviors. These findings open new and more appropriate research questions on radicalization and its development process.

Radicalization: A Qualitative Study of Risk and Protective Factors in Adolescence

Palermiti A. L.;Bartolo M. G.;Servidio R.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Costabile A.
Membro del Collaboration Group
2019

Abstract

Adolescence is a critical period for identity development characterized by new personal and social opportunities, but also by risks, such as feelings of loneliness and personal dissatisfaction, which can expose youths to potentially harmful influences and behaviors such as radical ideas and acts. Despite this general pattern, young immigrants may face even more complex, multiform and, therefore, riskier paths. Based on a qualitative approach, the present study explored the potential risk and protective factors of radical thinking and behavior in both autochthonous and immigrant adolescents living in southern Italy. Four focus groups were conducted using a semi-structured question route that comprised topics such as identity, sense of belonging to the sociocultural community, religion and family relationships. Each focus group consisted of six to eight adolescents aged 14-18 years and was balanced for gender and ethnicity. The discussions were audiotaped and then transcribed verbatim. The analysis followed the process of data reduction and generation of themes, which allowed an accurate reading of the possible risk and protective factors of radical thinking and behavior. The main emerged themes were “the role of national (Italian) identity”, “the sense of belonging to the ethnic or civic community”, “discrimination”, “the influence of the family” and “the religious issue”. Generally, (a) lower levels of national identity and lower sense of belonging to the ethnic or civic community, (b) a “feeling of difference” from peers, and, for immigrant adolescents, (c) the perception of being “in the middle” and “missing a clear integration strategy” were reported as risk factors promoting potential radicalization pathways. In contrast, positive family relationships, especially involving mother and adolescent child, were stated as protective factors. Religion was considered only as a posteriori justification of radical behaviors. These findings open new and more appropriate research questions on radicalization and its development process.
radicalization
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/295824
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