Topic: Disasters, terror and stress management

COPE COVID-19 Stress, health, and trust in the general Norwegian population

COPE COVID-19 is a study of how the general Norwegian population responds to the pandemic and the countermeasures to control the pandemic. 

2020 This project is ongoing 2025

Project Manager

Project Members

Main objective

The main aim of the study is to establish knowledge about stress reactions, mental health, social relationships, and trust in the covid-19 pandemic. Revealing the dynamics between these factors will contribute to limit the negative consequences of the current and future pandemics.

Research questions: Which subgroups in the Norwegian population will experience a high level of stress reactions, and which stressors are most important? Does trust in other people and trust in institutions, or social relationships, affect mental and somatic health in the pandemic? Is the pandemic, or the countermeasures, particularly challenging for vulnerable groups, such as people with pre-existing mental health problems?

Subsidiary objectives

Results will be communicated to the Norwegian Directorate of Health and to RVTS-Eastern Norway, who gives supervision and advice to health personnel. Scientific papers from this study will focus on the pandemic’s effect on social relationships and health, and the meaning of trust in these relationships. Our cooperation with the health region Vestre Viken will give us opportunities to reveal challenges of particular importance for vulnerable groups, such as individuals with pre-existing mental health problems.  


This study is a cross-sectional investigation of stress reactions, mental health, social relationships, trust, and perceived threat in a representative sample of the general Norwegian population. The data collection agency Kantar/Gallup will perform the data collection. Measures include challenges and worries related to the pandemic, mental and physical health problems, trust in other people and trust in institutions, and social relationships.

We will compare results in the general Norwegian population with identical measures in a sample of individuals with previous mental health problems, and in a sample of health personnel.

Levels of trust in institutions and in other people will be compared with norm data collected before the pandemic (European Social Survey). Level of trust in the health system will be compared to a previous Norwegian study in our cooperation with Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo.


Blix, I., Birkeland, M. S., & Thoresen, S. (2021). Worry and mental health in the Covid-19 pandemic: vulnerability factors in the general Norwegian population. BMC Public Health. doi:10.1186/s12889-021-10927-1

Thoresen, S., Blix, I., Birkeland, M. S., & Andreassen, A. L. (2020). Cope covid-19: helse og bekymringer under pandemien. Oslo: Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter om vold og traumatisk stress.