Inoculating Against Disillusionment: Protecting Student Confidence in Universities Before a Campus Shooting Crisis

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Abstract

Although fatal shootings on U.S. college campuses are statistically rare, students are routinely confronted with information suggesting that shootings are rampant and unavoidable. Pre-crisis interventions should address the threat of deceptive claims and restore beliefs that universities are capable of protecting students from violence. This experiment investigated the effectiveness of inoculation-based messages as a complementary approach to pre-crisis strategies for student resilience. Results revealed that, after reading about a simulated shooting, inoculated students had greater certainty and more positive beliefs in a university’s ability to prevent and respond to a shooting. Findings suggest that inoculation can establish a buffer of confidence in an institution’s crisis management infrastructure, even when faced with a shocking tragedy. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-160
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of School Violence
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • Risk and crisis communication
  • campus shootings
  • inoculation theory
  • pre-crisis
  • public confidence
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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