Abstract

This study explores the lived experiences of survivors of mass shootings and their family members' experiences of relational loss and growth. There is limited research on mass shooting survivors, with most of it focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder and other diagnosable mental health concerns. Until this study, the voices of survivors and their family members were absent from literature. The field of grief and traumatic loss typically refers to experiences related to the death of a loved one. However, this study seeks to expand the understanding on how exposure to a traumatic experience accompanies intangible, relational, and disenfranchised grief for the survivor and their loved ones. Moreover, the study considers relational growth to explore what it looks like relationally and the intrapersonal experience for survivors and their family members. A transcendental phenomenological research design was followed with 60-90-minute semi-structured interviews. The study included 11 participants (six survivors and five family members). Using Colazzi's (1979) research analysis, seven themes emerged: (1) Survivor self and relational growth, (2) internal adjustments and loss experiences, (3) survivorship identity and experience, (4) mental health care experiences, (5) difficult family and relational adjustments, (6) family adaptability and growth, and (7) relatives' struggle post-incident

Graduation Date

2020

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Shillingford-Butler, Ann

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Community Innovation and Education

Department

School of Teacher Education

Degree Program

Education; Counselor Education

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008317

Language

English

Release Date

December 2021

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

Share

COinS