Connect with Karyn
Dr. Sporer’s main research interests are in the areas of family violence and victimization, mental illness and violence, and violent extremism and terrorism. Her most recent work focuses on justifications for mass casualty violence used by Islamic State members and sympathizers with the hopes that we can appropriately confront the threat of jihadi-based and lone wolf violence in the west. Aside from this, Dr. Sporer’s secondary research agenda addresses violence and victimization among persons with severe mental illness.
In the News
Examines the grief experiences of parents raising children with serious mental illness and violent tendencies (SMI/VT). Frames our findings through the concept of ambiguous loss.
Examines how families adapt and respond to an aggressive child with mental illness. Suggests that families with a violent child with mental illness and other healthy children cannot live through episodes of violence without removing the child with mental illness from the home or suffering considerable damage to the family.
Examines how mothers perceive and experience barriers to effective help for their violent child with mental illness: (1) denial of mental illness and severity of violence by treatment providers, extended family, and non-family members; (2) limited access to quality treatment and supports; and (3) a recurring cycle from optimism to hopelessness. Draws comparisons between these mothers with survivors of domestic violence to inform policy and practice recommendations.
Examines strategies family members identify as being helpful when challenged by stressors related to living with an aggressive child or sibling with severe mental illness. Identifies three strategies that may prove beneficial for family members confronted and confused by mental illness.
Examines the narrative space of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Offers insight into the messaging and organizational dynamics of ISIL, particularly themes related to violence, pragmatism, and ideology.
Examines how non-ideological factors such as childhood risk factors and adolescent conduct problems precede participation in violent extremism (VE). Suggests that pathways to VE are more complex than previously identified in the literature and that violent extremists are a heterogeneous population of offenders whose life histories resemble members of conventional street gangs and generic criminal offenders.