The NIU Trauma Study (NTS) was launched in response to the mass shooting at NIU on February 14, 2008.
NTS is designed to better understand factors that help predict who may have more or fewer problems/distress over time in response to a tragic event such as a mass shooting.
NTS is unique because participants were already involved in an ongoing research study related to stressful life events at the time of the mass shooting. Thus, all participants in NTS had provided unique and essential information about their lives before the mass shooting.
In the history of psychological research, it is extremely rare to have the kind of information that NTS participants provided before the unexpected tragedy. Others have recognized how unique and important the NIU Trauma Study is. The initial survey immediately following the mass shooting was funded by a grant from the Joyce Foundation. The National Institutes of Health awarded Dr. Orcutt a federal grant which allowed the continuation of NTS for two and a half years following the mass shooting. In the last two time points, we collected some saliva samples for DNA analysis which was an exciting new direction for the project. In 2012, Dr. Orcutt was awarded another federal grant in order to continue examining biomarkers for risk for Posttrauamtic Stress in the NIU Trauma Study (see Study Design for more information on study design).