Topic: Disasters, terror and stress management

Sick leave before and after a work-place targeted terror attack

Hansen, M., Bang Hansen, M., Berthelsen, M., Nissen, A., & Heir, T. (2018). Sick leave before and after a work-place targeted terror attack. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health. doi:10.1007/s00420-018-1390-8


Data on sick leave and diagnosis in ministerial employees from the period 3 years before to 3 years after the 2011 bombing in the governmental district of Oslo was retrieved from the Norwegian Social Insurance Administration Registries.


Prior to the attack, sick leave was twice as high in women as in men. Compared to the period prior to the attack, sick leave increased the first year after the attack, for both women and men that were directly exposed to the event. Sick leave stabilized to the initial level 3 years after the incident. For indirectly exposed employees, i.e., those who were not present at the site of the attack, there was no significant increase in sick leave from before to after the attack. There were no statistical significant changes in diagnoses applied before and after the terrorist attack. However, there was a tendency towards an increase in sick leave due to psychological diagnoses among the directly exposed women.


After a work-place terrorist attack a transient increase in sick leave may occur among employees who were present at the site of the attack. The increase may seem relatively modest and last for 1–3 years.

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