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
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
School of Teacher Education
Education; Counselor Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
DiLorenzo, Amanda, "Experiences of Loss and Growth: A Phenomenological Inquiry of Mass Shooting Survivors and Their Family or Family-of-Choice Members" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 346.