Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Criminal Justice

Advisor/Committee Chair

Dana Peterson


In recent years the Islamic State has been gaining strength and followers from around the world. Individuals from other countries will leave their homes and families after contact through social media to travel to Syria and fight alongside the organization. These individuals, known as foreign fighters, are not being evaluated in terms of environmental factors and reasons behind their motivation to join ISIS. While limited in resources and scope, this study is an attempt to raise awareness about the issue of foreign fighter recruitment over social media and point out possible environmental risk factors that may compel someone to join. Using individual case studies based off of interviews and news articles I was able to compile and compare information about the lives of six ISIS foreign fighters It was discovered that there are similar traumas in these individuals’ lives that may contribute to their motivation to join the Islamic State. These results point to a problem that is not being evaluated in modern academics and suggests a possible cause and thus the potential for the development of a solution.