Public defence: Ingrid Bugge Ingrid Bugge at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Physically Injured Survivors of Terror: Posttraumatic stress reactions, somatic complaints, and experiences with early psychosocial hospital care after the 2011 Utøya attack” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Research Professor Nancy Kassam-Adams, University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Second opponent: Associate Professor Hanne Klæboe Greger, Norwegian university of science and technology (NTNU)
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Emeritus Svein Friis, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Emeritus Knut Gjesdal, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor II Trond H. Diseth, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo


After traumatic mass events, physically injured survivors constitute a vulnerable group that  may struggle with high levels of psychological distress in addition to sequelae from their  injuries. This thesis focuses on how mental and somatic health problems develop in injured  mass trauma survivors, and how we can provide adequate early psychosocial care in the  hospital for the most severely injured survivors.

The development of posttraumatic stress reactions (PTSR) and somatic complaints  was studied quantitatively in two different groups of injured survivors (hospitalized and  non-hospitalized, compared to non-injured) after the 2011 Utøya terror attack. In  addition, hospitalized survivors’ experiences with the early psychosocial care in the hospital  were explored qualitatively.
In brief, both hospitalized and non-hospitalized survivors developed particularly high levels of health complaints. Peri-traumatic exposure seemed to contribute to a heightened  level of PTSR, and PTSR contributed to a substantial proportion of the somatic  complaints developed among the non-hospitalized injured survivors. Regarding the  psychosocial hospital care, the analyses resulted in six emphasized themes: Engaging in  the trauma narrative; Understanding the trauma reminders; Bringing back normalcy;  Being there; Supporting confidence; Instilling trust.

In conclusion, survivors of mass trauma with injuries ranging from minor to severe may need special attention from health care services regarding both mental and somatic health  problems. Both trauma-focused interventions and commonplace actions and conversations  are important in reducing hospitalized survivors’ early distress. By drawing on the  competencies of a range of health care professionals, the hospital is a setting in which  survivors’ essential emotional needs may be met and a process towards healing may be effectively initiated.

Additional information

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Published Feb. 20, 2020 6:31 AM - Last modified Feb. 21, 2020 4:07 PM