Topic: Disasters, terror and stress management

Associations between work environment and psychological distress after a workplace terror attack: The importance of role expectations, predictability and leader support

Birkeland, M. S., Nielsen, M. B., Knardahl, S., & Heir, T. (2015). Associations between work environment and psychological distress after a workplace terror attack: The importance of role expectations, predictability and leader support. PLoS ONE, 10(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0119492

Experiencing terrorism is associated with high levels of psychological distress among survivors. The aim of the present study was to examine whether work environmental factors such as role clarity and predictability, role conflicts, and leader support may protect against elevated levels of psychological distress after a workplace terrorist attack.

Data from approximately 1800 ministerial employees were collected ten months after the 2011 Oslo bombing attack which targeted the Norwegian ministries.

The results show that after a traumatic event, lower role conflicts, higher role clarity, higher predictability, and higher leader support were independently associated with lower psychological distress. These findings suggest that the workplace environment may be a facilitator of employees’ mental health after stressful events.

The Researchers

  • Birkeland, Marianne Skogbrott

    Birkeland, Marianne Skogbrott

    Researcher / Ph.D.

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  • Heir, Trond

    Heir, Trond

    Researcher/ Professor University of Oslo / dr. scient.

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