Cumulative and independent effects of experiences of social adversity on support for violent radicalization during the COVID-19 pandemic: the mediating role of depression

Miconi, D.; Levinsson, A.; Frounfelker, R. L.; Yin Li, Z. ; Oulhote, Y. & C. Rousseau (2022, février)

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

Vol. 57/ Springer Nature Switzerland | 12 p.


Social adversity experiences have increased during the pandemic and are potential risk factors for both depression and support for violent radicalization (VR). However, the cumulative and independent effects of various social adversity experiences on support for VR have yet to be explored. This paper examines the cumulative and independent effects of COVID- and non-COVID-related discrimination, exposure to violence, traditional and cyberbullying victimization on support for VR. In addition, we investigate whether depression mediates the relationship between these forms of social adversity and support for VR.


A total of 6003 young adults (Mage = 27, SDage = 4.40, range 18–35) living in metropolitan areas in Canada responded to an online survey. We used multivariable regression models, controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, to infer covariate adjusted associations between social adversity measures and support for VR. Additionally, we conducted a formal mediation analysis to estimate the proportion mediated by depression.


There was a cumulative relationship between experiences of social adversity and support for VR (β = 1.52; 95% CI: 1.32, 1.72). COVID-related discrimination and cyberbullying victimization were independently associated with stronger support for VR. Depression partially mediated the effect of cumulative social adversity, COVID-related discrimination and cyberbullying on support for VR.


Prevention programs during the present pandemic should prioritize decreasing discrimination and providing psychosocial support to depressed young adults who experience social adversity. Practitioners should prioritize developing programs that foster digital literacy skills and critical thinking among young adults to address the concerning impact of cyberbullying on support for VR.