Increased Incidence Rate of Trauma- and Stressor-related Disorders in Denmark After the Breivik Attacks in Norway

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Abstract

Background:

On 22 July 2011, Anders Breivik killed 77 adults and children in Norway. Having recently documented increases in the incidence of trauma- and stressor-related disorders in Denmark after the 9/11 attacks, we hypothesized that the Breivik attacks—due to their geographic proximity—would be followed by even larger increases in Denmark.

Methods:

Using population-based data from the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register (1995–2012), we conducted an intervention analysis of the change in the incidence of trauma- and stressor-related disorders after the Breivik attacks.

Results:

The incidence rate increased by 16% over the following 1½ years after the Breivik attacks, corresponding to 2736 additional cases. In comparison, 9/11 was followed by a 4% increase. We also present evidence of a subsequent surge in incidence stimulated by media attention.

Conclusion:

This study bolsters previous findings on extra-national consequences of terrorism and indicates that geographic proximity and media coverage may exacerbate effects.

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