Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Richard Garnett

Second Advisor

Nicholas Freidin

Third Advisor

Suzanne Strait


This study identifies a causal model for suicidal terrorism consisting of three primary blocks of factors. First, terrorist organizations must desire to expel a social entity from a geographic area and typically operate with a perception of religious asymmetry. Second, members of terrorist organizations must undergo active exposure to specific socialization practices that directly glorify martyrdom and render suicidal behavior socially acceptable within the context of their community. Third, terrorist organizations must adopt an organizational philosophy that indicates they are capable of achieving victory. This study analyzes the characteristics of several high-profile terrorist organizations to demonstrate the noted factors are causally responsible for the emergence of suicidal terrorism. All information was gathered exclusively from textual sources. Given a clear identification of causation, several strategies are proposed to counter the looming threat of suicidal terrorism.