Australian Security and Intelligence Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


secau Security Research Centre, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia


Originally published in the Proceedings of the 4th Australian Security and Intelligence Conference, Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia, 5th -7th December, 2011


Highly entitative sub-groups with strong ideologies ensure members are committed to the groups cause making disengagement a significant life event. This paper provides an insight into the current study of the psychological and social factors influencing the experience of personal disengagement from HESGIs. Semi-structured interviews were held with former members of one percent motorcycle clubs, fundamental religious groups, a pseudopsychotherapeutic cult, political activist groups, and military Special Forces. Using purposive sampling, participants were recruited through informal networks, internet requests and snowballing methods. Data analysis is at the preliminary stages, but through the coding and analysis methods of Strauss and Corbin’s (1990) grounded theory, interesting points have been noted in terms of causes for disillusionment, social distancing, and the self-identity.