Iren Johnsen, Post doctoral fellow
Friends and acquaintances after the terror attack on Utøya, 22 July 2011.
Iren completed her doctorate in 2016 at the University of Bergen and has worked at the Center for Crisis Psychology since 2009 with various bereavement related projects.
In her post doctorate project, Iren is working on the follow-up study of friends and acquaintances of Utøya terror victims, 9 years later. The project's main focus is on those who lost a close friend. The issues are about grief and trauma reactions over time, how grief affects function, how the loss is integrated into the identity, experience of help and follow-up, and how bereavement affects relation to new and existing friends. This follow-up study is one of the first that will provide more knowledge about the long-term effects of losing a close friend at a young age, and provide a better understanding of the connection between bereaved friends' grief reactions and the intensity of friendships formed during this period.
After completing a doctorate on surviving friends, the results show that surviving friends have a longer-term course of grief than has been seen in studies in the past. It was therefore natural for Iren to follow up this group further.