New Research: Undermining Radical Extremists’ “Victim” Narrative Could Prevent Recruitment

Sun May 17, 2015

For Information Contact:
Glenn O'Neal, 703-907-8640
Erin Connors, 703-907-8562

TORONTO – New research presented here at the American Psychiatric Association's 168th Annual Meeting explored the recruitment strategies of both international and domestic extremist groups. Through a literature review focusing on Islamic groups abroad and white power groups within the United States, medical student David Brown found that both groups "portray... themselves as victims of an oppressive force who must assume the role of heroes or champions to a global threat."

This new research argues that effective counter-terrorist tactics should undermine the “champion” narrative and emphasize non-violent alternatives for creating social change.

David Brown is a third-year medical student at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Midwestern University. He has worked closely with the Illinois Psychiatric Society and is the former president of the Midwestern University Psychiatric Association.

Mr. Brown will present his research at the 2015 APA New Research Press Briefing on May 17 from noon to 1:00 PM EDT at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Follow @APAPsychiatric and #APAAM15 to find out the latest Annual Meeting news.

The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at


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