Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Porter, Bennett

Committee Member

Berman, Mitchell

Committee Member

DeShong, Hilary

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


The development of threat assessment protocols has largely neglected a theoretical
foundation, leading to a multitude of protocols with little shared in the way of scientific
foundation. The focus of this study is to test components of two theories – Sternberg’s (2018) FLOTSAM Model and Maynard and Benesch’s (2016) Integrated Model of Dangerous Speech (IMDS) – as potential criteria to use in assessing the seriousness of online threats. This study utilized a dataset of 500 open-source online communications linked to the extremist QAnon movement. An EFA was used to pull an empirical model from the data. Three CFA and SEM were performed to assess model fit and threat prediction. The EFA found three factors of QAnon
posts: foot soldier posts, fearmonger posts, and true believer posts. Overall, the study found support for the use of the IMDS in analyzing online threat. Future research should incorporate other ideologies and theories into further analysis.