Suicide Terrorists: Are They Suicidal?

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Abstract

Are suicide terrorists suicidal? A review of the worldwide literature on suicide terrorism uncovered five published empirical studies describing data collected from potential suicide terrorists or the surviving friends and families of deceased terrorists. The many discrepancies uncovered between suicide terrorists and other suicides on key factors known to underpin suicidality, suggest that such terrorists are not truly suicidal and should not be viewed as a subgroup of the general suicide population. Nonetheless, methods developed by suicidologists, such as the psychological autopsy, will help increase our understanding of the individual and group factors that underpin suicide terrorism.

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