Kalle Ekholm

Postdoctoral position at Department of Government; Faculty

Visiting address:
Östra Ågatan 19
753 22 Uppsala
Postal address:
Box 514
751 20 UPPSALA


Living as a Survivor: A Study of the Political, Social and Economic Integration of Tsunami Survivors

How are we affected by traumatic experiences and sudden grief? Why do some people go through life with an ability to recover from such experiences while others do not?

This project aims to unravel the mystery of what makes us resilient to traumatic experiences and sudden grief. If we can understand how we are affected by traumatic events and sudden grief, and what makes us resilient to such events, then we can also understand what possible measures can lead to increased welfare after trauma and grief. If we can develop such measures as society, it can be of great benefit. This project gives us the prospects to do just that.

The project works with anonymized data from existing registers. The main data source is data on the approximately 16,030 Swedish survivors of the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia in 2004, as well as data on the relatives of those who perished (approximately 530 Swedes). We link this data to administrative data from the National Board of Health and Welfare and the population register at Statistics Sweden, and combine it with a survey. The combination of data sources, and a real large-scale crisis as an event, allows us to study the short- and long-term effects of the tsunami on a wide range of social, health, economic and political outcomes. This unique opportunity opens up for identifying what makes us resilient.

The aim is to understand how the surviving Swedes have fared as a group, and why some have fared better than others. We also want to understand how the relatives of those who perished have fared as a group, as these individuals were exposed to sudden grief.

The project contributes with research of high scientific quality and has good possibilities to be of use in the design of measures that lead to increased welfare after trauma and grief.

In summary, the knowledge from this project can contribute to increased resilience to traumatic events that affect the individual, but also to sudden large-scale crises that affect us as a society. By understanding what makes us resilient to traumatic events, we simply have the opportunity to better prepare for future crises. In the future, this knowledge may contribute to increased preparedness and security for the civilian population by offering relevant measures when the crisis comes. In this way, the project intends to contribute with important knowledge for a multifaceted crisis preparedness and a strengthened civil defense.

  • Duration of the project: 2022 - 2026
  • Funding: The Swedish Research Council
  • People involved: Lina M. Eriksson (PI, UU-CNDS), post doctor Kalle Ekholm (UU), collaborating researcher Kåre Vernby (UU-SU).


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Kalle Ekholm