The man accused of killing 17 people and injuring 14 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February is set to appear in court Wednesday. Meanwhile, survivors of the mass shooting are still grappling with the aftermath of that day.
Laura Wilson, co-author and editor of "The Wiley Handbook of the Psychology of Mass Shootings" and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, recently talked about that struggle in an American Psychological Association article.
"Simply by definition, mass shootings are more likely to trigger difficulties with beliefs that most of us have, including that we live in a just world and that if we make good decisions, we'll be safe," she is quoted as saying.
According to the article: "The National Center for PTSD estimates that 28 percent of people who have witnessed a mass shooting develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and about a third develop acute stress disorder.
"Research also suggests that mass shooting survivors may be at greater risk for mental health difficulties compared with people who experience other types of trauma, such as natural disasters. A study led by former Northern Illinois University (NIU) graduate student Lynsey Miron, PhD, after the 2008 shootings on NIU's campus, found that although a large percentage of mass shooting survivors were either resilient or displayed only short-term stress reactions, about 12 percent reported persistent PTSD, a number that's higher than the average prevalence of PTSD among trauma survivors as a whole (Behavior Therapy, Vol. 45, No. 6, 2014).
"What's critical, psychologists' research suggests, is to ensure that victims feel connected to their communities in the aftermath of mass violence and that they have ongoing support available to them."
Dr. Wilson is available to speak with media regarding this subject. Simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.
Laura Wilson Associate Professor and Director of Safe Zone
Dr. Wilson focuses on post-trauma functioning, particularly in survivors of sexual violence or mass trauma