After Aurora, Expect PTSD to Spread Far Beyond Theater

Photo by scottchan

By 

Like all such tragedies, the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater will claim more victims than is immediately apparent. In the coming weeks and months, many people who were somehow involved in the event but physically unhurt will find themselves experiencing the sometimes debilitating symptoms of PTSD.

Who will experience this psychological trauma, and what’s the best way to help them? A pair of recently published studies examining the aftermath of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, which claimed 32 lives, offer some clues.

A team of researchers led by Virginia Tech’s Michael Hughes surveyed 4,639 of the school’s students three to four months after the tragedy. The researchers found 15.4 percent were experiencing high levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms (which can include flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, agitation or emotional detachment).

Those with the highest odds of experiencing PTSD symptoms were students who knew someone who was killed or injured in the attack, along with those who were unable “to confirm the safety of friends” as the events unfolded.

The latter finding “highlights the important role of extended periods of worry and fear over the safety of others,” the researchers write in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy. “This finding has important implications for the content of post-event screening and intervention.

“Risk screening should include gathering information not only about direct exposure to trauma, loss, and injury to self and others, but also should include information about the extent and severity of worry about the safety of loved ones and friends.”….

Read the rest of the article at Pacific-Standard Magazine

Read Related Articles

What Do We Mean when We Talk About Punishment?

The Hidden Costs of the Prison Boom for the Mental Health of Women

Social Science is Changing how to view Policing

New Study Supports Link Between Inequality and Crime

Want monthly updates on what’s going on at Social Science Space? Sign up to be a Member! It’s Free!

Pacific-Standard Magazine

One of Library Journal’s Best Magazines of 2008, Miller-McCune not only identifies policy issues of global important but provides evidence-based solutions offered by academic research and real-world models. Through excellent but understandable writing and proven judgment in what to cover, the nonprofit Miller-McCune has received a surprising amount of acclaim and, more importantly, a large and growing audience interested in the social and natural sciences.

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Hate Rock 101 Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
trackback

[…] After Aurora, Expect PTSD to Spread Far Beyond Theater […]

Skip to toolbar