How do individuals who commit violent terrorist crimes differ from those who commit nonviolent terrorist crimes? In this study, we compare characteristics and pathways of violent (VTS) and nonviolent (NVTS) individuals prior to being suspected or convicted of crimes with terrorist intent (e.g. planning an attack, financing terrorism) in the Netherlands through an analysis of probation files. Departing from a social control and life-course perspective, we examine possible signs and triggers leading up to the terrorist suspicion, various life domains (socio-demographic characteristics, social network, and personality related variables), mental health, criminal histories, and online activities. Findings demonstrate primarily resemblances between both groups. Nonetheless, compared to NVTS, VTS showed more indications of signs of acting in accordance with extreme ideological beliefs and feelings of injustice, had a more disadvantaged socioeconomic background, were more often involved with other radicals (e.g. in groups and/or online), had more substance abuse problems, and were more active online in relation to their terrorist suspicion. NVTS, on the other hand, had more regularly a turbulent youth, more commonly ever showed indications of aggressive behavior, had more often mental health problems, and, consequently, received more social care compared to VTS. Implications and avenues for future research are discussed.

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