Public Defence: Jon Magnus Haga Jon Magnus Haga at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Post-disaster healthcare for parents - a longitudinal study of the mothers and fathers of the Utøya survivors” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Jonathan Bisson, School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • Second opponent: Head of Department Stephanie Vandentorren, Santé Publique France
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Associate Preofessor Arne Stray-Pedersen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Berit Grøholt, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor Grete Dyb, University of Oslo


Mothers and fathers may suffer severe traumatisation from learning of or witnessing events that threaten the lives of their children. Adolescents and young adults are often among victims of terrorist attacks. Yet, little is known about parents’ post-disaster healthcare needs. 

This thesis investigates post-disaster healthcare services provided to parents of the survivors of the 2011 Utøya terrorist attack, by combining registry-based data on parental healthcare consumption in the three-year periods before and after the terrorist attack with self-reported data from the mothers and fathers, and their children. A broad range of healthcare services were addressed, including regular primary and specialised healthcare and the extraordinary crisis response programme set up by municipalities throughout the country in the wake of the attack.

The extraordinary crisis response programme succeeded in reaching out to a majority of the parents. Yet, parents of non-Norwegian origin and of non-intact families ran an increased risk of being left out of the proactive follow-up. Nearly all mothers and fathers turned to their general practitioner (GP) for help, a majority for psychological health complaints. More frequent GP visits was related to higher levels of distress. A minority of the more distressed parents were also provided for by specialised mental healthcare providers.

In conclusion, Parents witnessing or learning of a terrorist attack that threatens the life of their children may be in need of a wide range of post-disaster healthcare services. GPs may play a key role in providing for general complaints in the many, whereas specialised mental healthcare providers may play an important role in providing for the needs of the most severely traumatised. Psychosocial crisis response programmes may proactively facilitate access to healthcare, but need to find ways to overcome sociodemographic barriers to outreach in parents.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published Mar. 28, 2019 1:46 PM - Last modified Apr. 4, 2019 1:12 PM