Psychosocial Functioning Within Shooting-Affected Communities: Individual and Community-Level Factors

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Recent research following mass shooting events has examined those individuals directly affected by the violence and the impact of the shooting on the whole community. This chapter reviews literature regarding the prevalence of adjustment difficulties among individuals in mass‐shooting‐ affected communities. Emerging research supports that a number of individuals with less severe or even no direct exposure to a mass shooting event may experience adjustment difficulties, including anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and, further, that chronic adjustment difficulties can develop. The chapter discusses predictors of adjustment difficulties following mass shootings including the role of preshooting vulnerability, shooting‐related exposure and loss, and postshooting experiences. It considers the possibility that mass shooting events may represent opportunities for positive changes in individuals’ functioning. Finally, the chapter explores research regarding how the community itself may be altered by a mass shooting including changes in community solidarity, identity, and sense of safety within the community.