UMW's psychological trauma expert Laura Wilson weighs in on survivors of recent mass shootings

UMW's psychological trauma expert Laura Wilson weighs in on survivors of recent mass shootings UMW's psychological trauma expert Laura Wilson weighs in on survivors of recent mass shootings

April 19, 20212 min read
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Media have been covering what has been a deadly year in America, with nearly a dozen mass shootings to date. UMW's psychological trauma expert Laura Wilson has been the go-to person to help journalists understand the impact these horrific events have on survivors. 


Recently, Dr. Wilson was interviewed about the recovery process American Olympic hopeful Maggie Montoya is facing after witnessing first-hand the shooting in Boulder, Colorado, as she prepares to represent America this summer in Tokyo.



Laura C. Wilson, associate professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., has focused on post-trauma functioning from mass trauma. She says most people's exposure and understanding of mass shootings consists of the immediate aftermath.


"They see the news coverage of the crime scene and watch the investigators' news briefing," Wilson said. "Within a few days the news trucks leave and people's attention turns to the next major news event. This is when the grief and recovery work starts for the survivors."


Wilson said every person will process the events differently. Some will have intense, acute reactions that subside in a few days or weeks. Effects could be chronic for others, and some experience delayed reactions.


"Each person is different, and their recovery will look different," she said.

Wilson didn't speak specifically about Montoya's running community but said community overall is a powerful strength for survivors in the aftermath of a mass shooting.


"It creates a sense of belonging, which can promote psychological recovery," Wilson said. "Having supportive family and friends to validate the feelings and help you process your thoughts is certainly a protective factor." April 18 - The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette



If you are a reporter looking to cover the issues survivors of mass-shooting events will experience, then let us help.


Dr. Laura Wilson is a clinical psychologist whose expertise focuses on post-trauma functioning, particularly in survivors of sexual violence or mass trauma (e.g., terrorism, mass shootings, combat). Her research interests extend to predictors of violence and aggression, including psychophysiological and personality factors, as well as indicators of PTSD following mass trauma, long-term functioning among first responders, outcomes among survivors of sexual violence and the influence of media on mental illness stigma.


Dr. Wilson is available to speak with media, simply click on her icon to arrange an interview today.



Connect with:
  • Laura Wilson
    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

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