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Exhibit 1. Examples of Push and Pull Factors


This is exhibit 1 “Push and Pull Factors” for the NIJ Journal article “Comparing Violent Extremism and Terrorism to Other Forms of Targeted Violence.” 

Push factors are influences that drive vulnerable individuals toward criminal group involvement. 


  • Cultural disillusionment
  • A perceived loss of significance
  • Poverty, lack of opportunities, unemployment, and financial hardships
  • Political grievances against the United States and its allies
  • Perceived profiling or overpolicing by law enforcement
  • Unaddressed trauma and mental health problems, which push individuals to seek support, advice, and acceptance by predatory recruiters

Pull factors are influences that entice vulnerable individuals toward criminal group involvement.


  • The promise of money or other material rewards
  • A sense of belonging, companionship, and acceptance
  • A sense of heroism and empowerment
  • Easy ways to join the cause
  • Access to the internet, where peers or recruiters deceptively present benefits