Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Lauri Hyers, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julian Azorlosa, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Deborah Mahlstedt, Ph.D.



Focusing on firearm use for recreation, this study examined what effects a single session of recreational target shooting at a public, indoor range had on measures of mood. Seventy four (38 experienced and 36 inexperienced) target shooters (28 women and 47 men) completed pre- and post-test measures of the Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS; Grove & Prapavessis, 1992), before and after a session of target shooting in a pre-test, post-test design. Participants also completed three qualitative questions post-shooting, responding to why they wanted to shoot and what they liked and disliked about the experience, coded using Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Results indicated significant reductions in the Negative Affect subscale of PANAS and in the Depression, Tension, Anger, and Confusion subscales of the POMS. Additionally, significant increases were found in Vigor and Esteem Related Affect on the POMS. Main effects were consistent with hypotheses, with some effects qualified by higher order Interactions with Gender and Experience, suggesting that the strongest positive effects occurred for inexperienced shooters, especially inexperienced men. The results are discussed with regard to recreational target shooting as a positive use of firearms, and a means of decoupling guns and violence and moving toward a better understanding of the affinity people feel toward firearms as recreational outlet.