Terry L. Schell

Photo of Terry Schell
Senior Behavioral Scientist
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in social psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara; M.A. in psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara; B.A. in psychology, Reed College

Media Resources

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Terry L. Schell is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. Much of his research has focused on posttraumatic stress disorder, among civilian survivors of trauma as well as service members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. That research has been published in a wide array of peer-reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and Journal of Traumatic Stress. Schell has worked on a variety of projects as a social psychologist and psychometrician across all units of RAND. This includes research that investigates the effects of gun laws on firearm deaths, sexual assault in the U.S. military, the long-term effects of violence on mental health, the effects of advertising on adolescent drinking, the effectiveness of criminal rehabilitation programs, the effectiveness of terrorism security measures, the evaluation of drug treatment programs, the relationship between traumatic stress and substance use, and racial equity in policing. Schell received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he received training in advanced multivariate statistics and psychological measurement.

Recent Projects

  • Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. military
  • Guns in America
  • Longitudinal Study of PTSD, TBI, and Functional Impairment among OEF/OIF Veterans.
  • Cambodia Trauma Survivors: Prevalence and Consequences.
  • Multisample Study of the Natural Course of PTSD Symptoms

Selected Publications

Terry L. Schell, Matthew Cefalu, Coreen Farris, Andrew R. Morral, The Relationship Between Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Military Findings from the RAND Military Workplace Study, RAND (RR-3162), 2021

Terry L. Schell, Matthew Cefalu, Beth Ann Griffin, Rosanna Smart, Andrew R. Morral, , "Changes in firearm mortality following the implementation of state laws regulating firearm access and use," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (26), 2020

Terry L. Schell, Samuel Peterson, Brian G. Vegetabile, Adam Scherling, Rosanna Smart, Andrew R. Morral, State-Level Estimates of Household Firearm Ownership, RAND (TL-354), 2020

Terry L. Schell, Beth Ann Griffin, Andrew R. Morral, Evaluating Methods to Estimate the Effect of State Laws on Firearm Deaths A Simulation Study, RAND (RR-2685), 2018

Morral, Andrew R., Terry L. Schell, Matthew Cefalu, Jessica Hwang, and Andrew Gelman, Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Military: Volume 5. Estimates for Installation- and Command-Level Risk of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment, RAND (RR-870/7), 2018

G. N. Marshall et al., "Mental Health of Cambodian Refugees 2 Decades After Resettlement in the United States," Journal of the American Medical Association, 295(5), 2005

T. L. Schell et al., "All Symptoms Are Not Created Equal: The Prominent Role of Hyperarousal in the Natural Course of Posttraumatic Psychological Distress," Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113(2), 2004

Terry L. Schell and Grant N. Marshall "Survey of Individuals Previously Deployed for OEF/OIF," in Tanielian, Terri, Lisa H. Jaycox (Eds.), Invisible Wounds of War Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery, RAND (MG-720), 2008


  • U.S. Army paratroopers move to an assembly area at Normandy Drop Zone, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, February 1, 2019, photo by Sgt. Taylor Hoganson/U.S. Army

    Military Must Better Understand Sexual Assaults to Combat Them

    Sexual minorities in the U.S. military represent about 12 percent of the active-duty population. But they account for an estimated 43 percent of those who are sexually assaulted. This raises critical questions for the Pentagon as it tries to reduce the 20,000 sexual assaults in the ranks each year.

    Jun 22, 2021 The Hill

  • depressed teenage boy with handgun

    Can Improved Mental Health Care Prevent Gun Crimes? The Truth Is, We Don't Know

    If policymakers and the public expect the mental health community to play a significant role in preventing future incidents like Newtown, the mental health research agenda must become a higher national priority in future federal funding decisions, writes Terry Schell.

    Jan 17, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • A soldier hugging his wife or girlfriend upon his return from deployment

    War's Invisible Wounds

    Nearly 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan service veterans who have returned home -- about one in five -- may suffer from combat-stress-related mental health problems. Our veterans ought to get the best available treatments our nation can offer, but they don't, write authors Terry Schell, Terri Tanielian and Lisa Jaycox.

    Sep 28, 2008 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette