Untrained people helping at the scene of terror attacks are much more likely than trained responders to later develop posttraumatic stress, a Norwegian study finds.

In July 2011, Norway suffered two terror attacks in which 77 people died and many more were injured. In the first attack, a car bomb in the capital killed eight people and in the second, a shooter killed 69 teens and young adults at a youth camp.

Rescue workers from various professional groups and many civilians who happened to be at the scenes assisted the victims.

Later, unaffiliated volunteers were more than eight times as likely as trained response workers to suffer symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as anxiety and flashbacks, the study team reports in the journal Occupational Medicine.

More on this…