Mississippi State University
Date of Degree
Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only
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.
Dean, Matthew, "Testing competing theories to develop a linguistic assessment on online extremist content" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 5700.