Studying Ideological Groups Online: Identification and Assessment of Risk Factors for Violence


Amanda D. Angie, 247 Tennessee Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. E-mail:


Recent acts of violence have demonstrated the impact of violent ideological groups worldwide. However, the systematic study of these groups is somewhat limited. The Internet is a valuable tool for investigating ideological group behavior because it is easily accessible and commonly used by these groups. This study attempted to extend previous research by examining online message boards to assess processes particular to ideological group membership. A content analysis was conducted on several group process variables using 29 groups with message boards. A Kruskal-Wallis test with follow-up pairwise comparisons was used to find that violent ideological groups differed from nonviolent ideological and nonviolent nonideological groups on 7 group process variables and 3 content variables. Implications are discussed.