Georgetown Scientific Research Journal GSR Journal
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Research Articles

Vol. 1 No. 2 (2021): Georgetown Scientific Research Journal: Spring 2021 Issue

The Burn Behind the Bullet: Understanding Black Mothers’ Experiences After Losing a Child to Gun Violence in Washington, DC-Baltimore City Metropolitan Region

DOI
https://doi.org/10.48091/gsr.v1i2.20
Submitted
March 30, 2021
Published
2021-07-31

Abstract

Abstract: The purpose of this research article is to examine how complicated grief, post-traumatic stress, and depressive symptoms that are induced from losing a child to gun violence affects traits of resilience and post-traumatic growth among a sample of black mothers living in Washington DC and Baltimore, Maryland. This research project was executed through having a total of 4 Black mothers who lost a child to gun violence that resided in the Baltimore-Washington area participate in a self-reported survey assessing grief, traumatic stress, and depression. Participants also completed an oral interview that focused on resilience, post-traumatic growth, and policy recommendations. Findings associated with post-traumatic stress indicated that all black mothers in this study reported it was somewhat true that they avoid things that remind them of their loved ones (n= 4, 100%) and 3 out of 4 of the mothers felt cut off or distant from other people since their loved one died (n= 3, 75%).  Outcomes related to complicated grief revealed that all mothers in this study reported that they felt a great deal of loneliness since their child has died (n= 4, 100%). Moreover, 3 out 4 Black mothers who lost a child to gun violence reported that memories of their child upset them in the last past 7 days (n= 3, 75%). Results aligning with post-traumatic growth displayed that all black mothers in this study reported it was mostly true that they learned they were stronger than they originally thought they were after losing a child to gun violence (n=4, 100%). Additionally, 3 out of 4 black mothers in this study stated it is mostly true that they developed a strong religious faith upon losing a child to gun violence ( n= 3, 75%). Furthermore, 3 out of 4 black mothers in this study reported that they found a stronger sense of purpose in life upon losing a child to gun violence (n = 3, 75%).  Findings relating to depressive symptomatology contained a large amount of variation and did not produce any significant results. The data results from the oral interview indicated that 7 themes emerged from black mothers who lost a child to gun violence in this study which included black mothers explaining their character traits as Loving, Committed, and Strong. Subsequently, Black mothers classified their coping strategies as Active Coping (Embracing Self love, Forgiveness, and Faith in God) and Avoidant Coping (Denial, Betrayal, and Not Coping). Lastly, Black mothers policy recommendations in this study focused on themes like Demanding resources for families and Laws on gun violence prevention that give attention to the victims.