Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Amy Adamczyk

Subject Categories

Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice


counterterrorism, ecology, multilevel modeling, Terrorism


The term terrorism is used to describe a large range of behaviors conducted by a wide variety of groups. Terrorist groups differ in ideology, size, financial support, group longevity, and the number of alliances with other terrorist groups. Relatedly, terrorist groups conduct different number of attacks with varying intents to cause fatalities using diverse forms of violence. This study uses ecological theory to contextualize terrorist violence as a product of terrorist group traits in relation to the environmental context. It is hypothesized that terrorist violence is associated with group traits in relation to the varying political, social, and religious contexts of the countries in which groups operate. Using longitudinal multilevel modeling this study analyzes how terrorist group traits, country characteristics, and exposure to counterterrorism tactics, influence terrorist violence (e.g. number of attacks, fatalities, targets, mode of attack, location of attack) over time. This study uses counterterrorism and group-level data from the Big Allied and Dangerous (BAAD1, 2) datasets, attack data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), country data from multiple public datasets, and counterterrorism and terrorist group data originally collected from open-sources. The results show that each form of violence has a unique set of predictor variables and the results of moderation hypotheses show that group ideologies are associated with different trajectories over time, that group traits condition the effect of counterterrorism, and country characteristics moderation how different terrorist groups conduct violence. This work is among the first to evaluate moderation hypotheses and is one of few studies on terrorism to use advanced statistical methods to evaluate these relationship over time and cross-nationally. The study contributes to the literature on terrorism with relevant policy implications, and contributing to the development of ecological theory and its application to political and religiously motivated violence.



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