Among short-term mental health consequences for adolescents who have proximate or direct experience with mass shootings in school settings are posttraumatic stress and posttraumatic stress disorder. Identifying incidence of enduring mental health impacts is challenging due to difficulty of tracking individuals into adulthood. The purpose of this paper is to use qualitative secondary analysis to explore how seven individuals reflectively describe and interpret their lived experiences as adolescents during the May 4, 1970, Kent State University Vietnam protest that resulted in deaths and injuries to students fired upon by Ohio National Guard. Archived transcripts from interviews conducted up to 48 years after the event were analyzed using a phenomenological qualitative approach. Aspects of common experience included confusion, emotionally charged responses from others directed toward community members following the event, and belief the experience had a profound and lasting impact on their lives, exemplified by vivid memories of minute details and comparative responses to other events. These findings illustrate how others’ reactions and subsequent incidents contribute to retraumatization into adult years. This report demonstrates the value of qualitative secondary analysis in general, while specific findings illustrate long-term impact of an adolescent trauma experience.
mass shootings, violence, posttraumatic stress disorder, qualitative secondary analysis, phenomenology
The authors wish to express their thanks to all of the individuals who contributed oral histories to the Kent State University Libraries May 4th Archives
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Recommended APA Citation
Chatfield, S. L., DeBois, K. A., & Orlins, E. (2021). Reflections on Trauma: A Phenomenological Qualitative Secondary Analysis of Archived Interviews about Adolescent Experiences During the 1970 Kent State Student Shootings. The Qualitative Report, 26(11), 3563-3574. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2021.5026