Disasters, terror and stress management

Throughout history, mankind has been exposed to war, accidents and disasters. Knowledge concerning how individuals react under these conditions and what type of consequences they can have on quality of life and health is essential.

The Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, NKVTS, conducts extensive research that examines how people deal with crises, accidents and disasters, and what type of reactions are common after such events, as well as the effect different situations and coping strategies have on quality of life and health. The research conducted at NKVTS looks into what factors contributes to improve mental health after serious life events.

This research encompasses those affected, their family, workplace, and social network. The research focuses on how the individual’s sense of competence and interactions with their surroundings either reduces or increases their resilience to the traumatic event. Another aspect of research is when and how aid – both government relief and/or medical assistance – should be provided in such a way that it enables an individual to feel that they both handle- and are able to resume to their daily life.

We aim to generate and distribute knowledge on how to prevent and treat traumatic stress disorders through our own research, by reviewing other studies and by listening to those with hands-on experience. We have contributed to the development of the Norwegian Directorate of Health psychosocial guidelines for crises, accidents and disasters. Our research team has also provided the government advice during crises and disaster situations. We provide educational programs for students, experts and the general public.

Disasters, accidents and terror do not abide to borders. Collaboration is therefore essential to utilize the knowledge and experience that others possess. Our research team collaborates with other researchers and research groups both at a national and international level. Our work has an interdisciplinary approach and investigates crises, accidents and disasters from many different angles using the different viewpoints of the different academic fields. Cooperating with those affected and their families helps maintain the perspective of those most in need.

NKVTS has conducted two large research programmes investigating the consequences of the 22nd of July 2011 Norwegian terror attacks and the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia in 2004.

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