Months After Shootings, Many Virginia Tech Students
FRIDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Post-traumatic stress
disorder was reported by 15.4 percent of Virginia Tech students
several months after the shooting rampage at the school in April
2007, a new study indicates.
During the attack by a lone gunman, 49 students and faculty
members were shot and 32 of them died.
Factors most strongly associated related to post-traumatic
stress among the students were the death or injury of someone close
to them and the inability to confirm the safety of friends for up
to two hours after the shootings, the survey revealed.
"The stressors most responsible for post-traumatic stress among Virginia Tech students had to do with social relationships -- deaths and injuries involving friends and anxiety about the safety of friends," co-principal investigator Virginia Tech sociology professor Michael Hughes said in a university news release.
His team's survey of more than 4,600 students who completed a
Web-based survey during the summer and fall after the shootings
also found that post-traumatic stress was higher among women (about
23 percent) than men (about 10 percent), the Virginia Tech
The higher levels of post-traumatic stress in women was due
largely to greater losses to women of people they knew but were not
very close to, co-principal investigator Russell T. Jones, a
professor of psychology, said in the news release.
"These losses were in the form of deaths, injuries and close calls of individuals who were not considered close friends or relatives," Jones explained. Women might also have been more affected by "perceived danger or harm in the absence of information or extended periods of worry," he said.
On Thursday, Virginia Tech was forced into an hours-long
"lockdown" due to reports of a man with a gun on campus. The
lockdown was lifted after no such man was found.
The study was published recently in the
Journal of Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
post-traumatic stress disorder.
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