Survival by Suicide: Motivation of Suicide Operations in the Middle East

TitleSurvival by Suicide: Motivation of Suicide Operations in the Middle East
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsSchoen, Christopher
Tertiary AuthorsO'Laughlin, Matthew
Academic DepartmentPsychology, College of Liberal Arts
Thesis AdvisorO'Laughlin, Matthew
DegreeBA, International Studies in Psychology
Number of Pages39
Date Published03/2010
UniversityOregon State University
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
Keywordsintercultural, international scope, motivations, psychology, suicide bomber

Suicide attacks are a prevalent topic in modern international media. The devastation in the United States caused by suicide tactics on September 11, 2001 encouraged the development of counter-terrorism policies that could provide effective security and reduce the worldwide sense of vulnerability. The necessity for international collaboration on research regarding terrorism has reached a new level of importance. The application of social and psychological research and theory has led to a proliferation of theories regarding the motivating factors behind suicide operations. Previous research concluded that suicide bombers were Islamic fundamentalists that were poor, uneducated, and detached from reality. (Blackwell, 2003) More recent research by Pape (2005) has resulted in the conclusion that modern perpetrators of suicide terrorism attacks are middle-class, are more educated than those in their surrounding community, and are free from psychological disorders. Further, it has been found that groups that implement suicide operations implement attacks primarily on the basis of foreign occupation rather than religious ideology. (Pape, 2005) Foreign policy needs to place an emphasis on the target cultures’ ideals in order to execute a more effective solution to the prevalence of suicide terrorism.