Incels are often the clingy kids of mommy-to-be, according to one of the first studies on the hate group.
Involuntary celibates, who advocate violence and rape against women, have been responsible for a growing number of terrorist attacks in recent years.
They form a dark and depraved online community of young heterosexuals who blame society on women for their lack of romantic success.
Now, researchers from the University of Rome have found similar personality traits that unite the members.
Incels score high on depression, anxiety, and paranoia, as they are more likely to mistrust women and be jealous of other men who are successful in romantic relationships.
Depression can also lead to self-hatred, suicidal and violent tendencies.
The researchers also found that the members had a “fearful attachment style,” which includes being clingy or emotionally absent.
Their hatred of women and misogyny stem from a fear of trusting others and being hurt, which may have arisen due to emotional neglect or abuse as children, according to the researchers.
The researchers hope that clinicians can use their findings and the scale to identify people at risk of becoming incels.
In September, a self-described incel in Southern California was charged with a series of attacks on women using pepper spray.
Alex Minassian killed 10 people with a pickup truck in Toronto in 2018, claiming he was a ‘rebellion’ that would ‘force’ women to have sex with men like him.
Elliot Rodgers, who killed six people in a 2014 California knife and gun attack, posted a video shortly before his attack in which he complained about being a 22-year-old virgin and having never kissed a girl.
Elliot Rodger (pictured left) was 22 when he shot and killed six people in a frat house mass shooting in 2014. He carried out the shooting because he was frustrated that he was still a virgin. He said that he was driven to kill after numerous women turned him down. Alek Minassian (pictured right) used a pickup truck to kill 10 people in Toronto in April 2018 and told police he had been in contact with Rodger.
Incel attacks in the US
May 2020: Incel gunman shot and wounded three people at a mall in Arizona while live-streaming the attack on Snapchat
February 2020 – A machete attack at a Toronto massage parlor became the first incident of alleged incel violence to be prosecuted as an act of terrorism.
November 2018: A gunman posing as a customer at a Tallahassee yoga studio killed two women and injured five others.
He said he wanted to ‘blow off’ a woman’s head and expressed other disturbing and misogynistic views four years ago on his YouTube channel.
April 2018: A man used a pickup truck to kill 10 pedestrians in Toronto. He told police that he belonged to an online community of sexually frustrated men, some of whom have plotted attacks against people who are having sex.
He also released a 141-page document looking at his deep-rooted hatred of women, in which he said he couldn’t understand why women wouldn’t want to have sex with him.
Rodgers was never formally diagnosed with a mental illness.
A total of 770 men between the ages of 18 and 69 received a series of online questionnaires that identified intelligence traits, levels of depression and anxiety, attachment style, and symptoms of paranoia.
The incel Trait Scale, developed by Dr. Scaptura and Dr. Boyle in 2019, includes factors such as confusion, sadness, fear, exclusion, weakness, and insecurity.
Men who scored high on the scale were more likely to also display paranoia, anxiety and depression.
Paranoia is an unjustified distrust of people and can include unjustified jealousy.
In the case of incels, they are specifically distrustful of women and jealous of other men who are successful in romantic relationships.
Depression and anxiety also contribute to an incel mindset, as both can lead to decreased self-esteem and isolation.
Incels believe that they cannot attract women and often retreat to online forums to discuss their unhappiness and frustration.
The researchers found that men who had a fearful attachment style were also more likely to score high on the incel traits.
In contrast, those with a secure attachment style scored lower on the incel trait questionnaire.
Attachment styles are ways that people behave in relationships with others and are based on the bond people had with their parents or primary caregiver growing up.
A secure attachment style is when people feel protected by their parents, which leads them to feel comfortable in relationships with others later in life.
But if a child’s primary caregiver is negligent or unpredictable, the child may become needy as he tries harder to get the attention he feels he lacks.
By the time they reach adults, children with disorganized attachment have low self-esteem and an intense fear of rejection and abandonment, which is consistent with an incel attitude.
Boys may grow to resent women due to a lack of healthy relationships developed in childhood.
A caregiver could have behaved in a frightening way, including abusing the child.
Or they may have been inconsistent and unpredictable in their interactions with their children, being overly loving at times and then neglectful of others.
Children may feel unpleasant and suspicious that people support and accept them.
The researchers concluded that paranoia and anxious-depressive symptoms play a “central role” in incel attitude and suggested that fearful attachment styles may contribute to a misogynistic attitude.
Boys can grow to resent women if they feel their primary caregiver did not give them the love they needed, and it can also leave them with a negative view of themselves.
The study was published in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
In the UK last year, Plymouth gunman Jake Davison killed his own mother, as well as a father and daughter.
He had previously made references to incels in videos posted to social media, including hate-filled rants about single moms and his own in particular, whom he called “vile, dysfunctional and chaotic.”