Effects of Mass Shootings on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents


Purpose of Review

To examine mass shootings in youth including mass shooting trends, risk and protective factors for emotional sequelae, mental health, prevention of mass shootings, and the assessment and treatment of survivors.

Recent Findings

Many youth are exposed to gun violence, with a smaller subset exposed to mass shootings. While youth have varying responses to mass shootings, possibly due to risk and protective factors as well as level of exposure, the mental health outcomes are significant and include posttraumatic stress, suicide, depression, substance abuse, and anxiety. Efforts at developing effective prevention and treatment programs are still underway but generally take a tiered public health approach.


Mass shootings have significant mental health outcomes for youth survivors, particularly those with direct exposure or risk factors. Continued efforts are needed to better understand the effects of mass shootings and how to prevent them from occurring as well as how to best address the needs of survivors.

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Fig. 1


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Correspondence to Aradhana Bela Sood.

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The original online version of this article was revised: The original version of this article unfortunately contained two mistakes. In the 2nd paragraph and last sentence under ‘Assessment’ section, the following is the corrected sentence. And in the 3rd paragraph and 6th sentence under ‘Treatment’ section, the following is the corrected sentence.

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Child and Adolescent Disorders

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Cimolai, V., Schmitz, J. & Sood, A.B. Effects of Mass Shootings on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Curr Psychiatry Rep 23, 12 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-021-01222-2

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  • Children mass shooting
  • School shootings
  • Mental health sequelae of mass shooting
  • PTSD
  • Risk and protective factors
  • Mental health interventions post mass shooting exposure