A national study of the psychological impact of bank robbery with a randomzed control group

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Background. Despite, numerous annual bank robberies worldwide, research in the psychological sequelae of bank robberies is limited. Thus, research needs to investigate the prevalence of Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in bank employees, whilst comparing how bank employees exposed to bank robbery differ from employees not exposed to bank robbery. Objective and design. We studied the prevalence of ASD one week after the robbery (N = 458) and the prevalence of PTSD six months after the robbery (n = 378) in a national Danish bank employees exposed to bank robbery. We also investigated several other forms of psychological sequelae and related factors in bank robbery victim for instance prior traumatic experience, anxiety symptoms, and general traumatic symptoms. The results were compared to a randomized control group of bank employees never exposed to bank robbery (N= 303). Results: The estimated ASD rate was 11.1 % (n = 41), and the estimated PTSD rate was 6.2 % (n = 23). However, the ASD and the PTSD prevalence rates were limited by the avoidance diagnostic criteria (ASD without avoidance = 14 %, PTSD without avoidance= 17.8 %). Preliminary results indicate that the control group scored significantly lower than the ASD robbery group but surprisingly significantly higher than the PTSD robbery group on for instance general traumatization and anxiety. Discussion and conclusions: The results are discussed in relation to existing research and the effect of other factors such as prior traumatic exposure. A preliminary conclusion is that a bank robbery is a traumatizing event for employees, especially when disregarding the avoidance symptoms. This seems to be particularly pertinent in relation to the acute phrase following the bank robbery.
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Udgave nummerSupplement
StatusUdgivet - 5. jun. 2013


  • national study of bank robbery, psychological impact, control group