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Thinking that one's life was in danger: perceived life threat in individuals directly or indirectly exposed to terror.

Authors
  • Heir, Trond1
  • Blix, Ines2
  • Knatten, Charlotte K2
  • 1 Trond Heir, PhD, Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Oslo, and Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo; Ines Blix, PhD, Charlotte K. Knatten, PhD, Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Olso, Norway [email protected] , (Norway)
  • 2 Trond Heir, PhD, Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Oslo, and Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo; Ines Blix, PhD, Charlotte K. Knatten, PhD, Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Olso, Norway. , (Norway)
Type
Published Article
Journal
The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2016
Volume
209
Issue
4
Pages
306–310
Identifiers
PMID: 27056624
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Perceived life threat is associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Still, it is not known whether perceived threat may be important for PTSD in people indirectly exposed to trauma. To examine the prevalence of perceived life threat and the association with PTSD in individuals directly or indirectly exposed to terror. Data are cross-sectional from a survey 10 months after the 2011 Oslo bombing. Perceived life threat was measured by the question: 'How great do you think the danger was that you would die?' scored on a five-point scale. PTSD was measured with the PTSD Checklist (PCL). The retrospective belief that one's life was in great or overwhelming danger was reported by 65% and 22% of employees who had been present or not present, respectively, at the site of the bomb explosion (n = 1923). A high perceived life threat was associated with PTSD among those present (odds ratio (OR) = 5.7, 95% CI 1.9-16.9) and not present (OR = 5.2. 95% CI 3.0-9.0), even after adjusting for objective exposure, demographics and neuroticism. Perceived life threat may play a central role in the development and maintenance of PTSD in people directly as well as indirectly exposed to terror. Moderating perceptions of having been in serious danger may be an appropriate approach to the prevention and treatment of PTSD. © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016.

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