International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 2019

The experiences of dealing with consequences of an avalanche – surviving soldiers’ perspectives

Purpose: The aim of the study was to explore and describe experiences of daily life after having experienced an avalanche three decades ago.Method: This paper presents a qualitative study of 12 male survivors of an avalanche during their military service, interviewed 30 years post-disaster.Findings: A comprehensive understanding of the categories led to the latent theme “Finding my own way of managing and dealing with life”. Findings revealed three categories describing experiences of daily living: (i) A comfortable life; (ii) A challenging, yet accomplished life; (iii) A demanding life. The first category represents a greater degree of using adaptive coping strategies for managing everyday life compared to the other two categories. The third category represents the group having the most challenging consequences. Among the three, the latter category conveys the most maladaptive coping strategies.Conclusions:The participants had different experiences with regards to their health and how they coped with their everyday life after the avalanche disaster. Insights into coping strategies may provide a guide for appropriate interventions for survivors dealing with traumatic events.