The objective of this study was to provide knowledge about the emotional reactions in parents whose offspring experienced a mass shooting on Utøya island in Norway in 2011. The research questions included whether parents’ reactions were influenced by their offspring’s symptom level, age, living situation and parental gender.
The study was designed as an open cohort study. The data were collected at two time points; 4–5 months and 14–15 months after the shooting.
The Parental Emotional Reaction Questionnaire measured parents’ reactions, and University of California, Los Angeles Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index measured youths' post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Parental emotional reactions were positively related to post-traumatic stress reactions in offspring at wave 1: Est.=0.20, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.30, p<0.001, over time (wave 1and wave 2 nested within individuals): Est.=0.23, CI 0.13 to 0.32, p<0.001, and at wave 2: Est.=0.26, CI 0.12 to 0.39, p<0.001. Youths’ age was not significantly related to parental emotional reactions, neither at wave 1: Est.=0.19, CI −0.40 to 0.77, p=0.531, over time: Est.=0.26, CI −0.27 to 0.79, p=328, nor at wave 2: Est.=0.32, CI −0.41 to 1.05, p=0.389. Mothers were more emotionally upset than fathers both at wave 1: Est.=−5.66, CI −7.63 to −3.69, p<0.001, over time: Est.=−5.36, CI −7.18 to −3.55, p<0.001, and at wave 2: Est.=−5.33, CI −7.72 to −2.53, p<0.001.