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Early traumas and young people’s reactions to terror

Adolescents can have post-traumatic stress reactions even when not directly affected by terrorist attacks such as the tragedy of 22 July 2011. They are at increased risk if they have experienced violence or abuse in early life.

It is a fact that proximity to major incidents increases vulnerability to post-traumatic stress. But scientists have known little about reactions in young people who were neither directly affected nor had a close relationship with any of the victims. 

 

Now, a new study headed by researchers from Uni Research shows that the terror attacks of 22 July 2011 also affected the health of high school students who neither had physical nor psychological closeness to the attacks which cost the lives of 77 people.

Violence and abuse increases vulnerability
Young people who have been victims of violence or sexual abuse as children, or who have witnessed violence, are more vulnerable to developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress – even if they only followed the media coverage of the terrorist attacks.

“Everyone involved in the health care of young people must be aware that those with negative past experiences may have a tough period even if they were not directly affected by the attacks.”

 

To read more, please visit uni.no. 

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