Transnational evaluation of the Sympathy for Violent Radicalization Scale: Measuring population attitudes toward violent radicalization in two countries

Rochelle L Frounfelker*, Thomas Frissen, Diana Miconi, Jordan Lawson, Robert T Brennan, Leen d'Haenens, Cécile Rousseau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Countering violent radicalization is a priority in many countries, prompting research that assesses attitudes and beliefs about violent radicalization in the general population. The majority of violent radicalization assessments have been developed among specific populations, with limited investigation into the generalizability and cross-cultural applicability of measurement tools. A transcultural investigation raises questions about the implicit assumptions and norms that inform instrument development. This research examined the psychometric properties of the Sympathy for Violent Radicalization Scale (SyfoR), a measure developed for use with Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrant groups in the UK, in two convenience samples of youth and young adults in North America and Western Europe. We investigated the factor structure, reliability, and construct validity of adapted versions of the SyfoR among convenience samples of youth and young adults living in Belgium (N = 2014) and in Quebec, Canada (N = 1364) via online surveys administered to students engaged in secondary and post-secondary education. Results indicate that, in both samples, a reduced, 8-item version of the SyfoR has a 3-factor structure with good model fit statistics using confirmatory factor analysis and good internal consistency reliability. More studies are needed to assess the appropriateness of the SyfoR for use in diverse contexts and among diverse populations. The potential usefulness and harmfulness of measures of violent radicalization should balance the benefits of obtaining local data with the risks associated with pathologizing social dissent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13634615211000550
Pages (from-to)669-682
Number of pages14
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
Issue number5
Early online date14 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • psychometrics
  • sympathy for violent radicalization
  • transnational evaluation
  • youth

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