News September 23, 2020

The Silent Cost of School Shootings

School shootings are a horrific U.S. phenomenon. And the tragedies aren’t limited to the shootings themselves. SHP's Maya Rossin-Slater finds that fatal shootings have a lingering impact on the mental health of those who survive them.
A boy hugs his father after a school shooting in Santa Clarita, CA.
Kurt Rennels hugs his son Eric (R) after reuniting at a park near Saugus High School after a shooting at the school left two students dead and three wounded on Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Research by Maya Rossin-Slater, who is also a faculty fellow with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, finds that fatal shootings have a lingering impact on the mental health of those who survive them. In collaboration with fellow economists and visiting SIEPR scholars Molly Schnell and Hannes Schwandt, their research adds an important dimension to the discussion around ensuring the long-term health and safety of the country’s schoolchildren.

In a video series for SIEPR, the researchers talk about the effects on the children who survive and how combing through data reveals startling trends in the mental health of children who witnessed the tragedies. They found the right datasets, asked new questions and analyzed the numbers — ask economists do. Understanding the impact of school shootings might be the obvious realm of psychologists, criminal justice scholars and public safety experts. But the tools of economics allow Rossin-Slater and her colleagues to disentangle causal effects from observational data and present clear evidence meant to prompt policies for improving the nation’s health and safety.

 

Watch All the Videos on the SIEPR page.