Determinants of Radicalization of Islamic Youth in the Netherlands: Personal Uncertainty, Perceived Injustice, and Perceived Group Threat


  • We thank the Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands (NCTb/WODC) for awarding a grant to finance this research. We thank the head (A. W. A. Erkens) and members of the supervising committee (F. Beijaard, D. Carabain, J. Dagevos, F. van Gemert, J. J. van Miert, C. Nassau, and C. J. de Poot) for their useful comments during this research project. This research was also funded in part by a VICI innovational research grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO, 453.03.603) awarded to Kees van den Bos.

  • Annemarie Loseman and Kees van den Bos, University of Utrecht, Van Unnik Building, Heidelberglaan 2, Utrecht, 3584 CS, The Netherlands;;

Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Bertjan Doosje, Department of Social Psychology and Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam, Weesperplein 4, Amsterdam 1018 XA, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 20-5256885 [e-mail:].


In this study among Dutch Muslim youth (N = 131), we focus on the process of radicalization. We hypothesize that this process is driven by three main factors: (a) personal uncertainty, (b) perceived injustice, and (c) perceived group threat. Using structural equation modeling, we demonstrate that personal uncertainty, perceived injustice, and group-threat factors are important determinants of a radical belief system (e.g., perceived superiority of Muslims, perceived illegitimacy of Dutch authorities, perceived distance to others, and a feeling of being disconnected from society). This radical belief system in turn predicts attitudes toward violence by other Muslims, which is a determinant of own violent intentions. Results are discussed in terms of the role of individual and group-based determinants of radicalization.