Tiltak for å mestre frykt fo å mote bjorn

Forskningsoutput: Bok/rapportRapport


The brown bear population in Scandinavia has substantially increased the last 30 years, in-creasing the probability of interactions between humans and bears. This environmental change is evident to many who live in brown bear areas and to them it is important to feel safe when engaged in nature based activities. This research project aimed to, further develop and evaluate two specific interventions with regard to their effect on fear of encountering brown bears in nature, departing from psychological theory on human-environment interaction and emotional appraisal. The two interventions were guided brown bear walks and information meetings, both directed to people who live within brown bear areas and express fear of encountering bears.

The empirical work was divided into three studies: In Study I the effect of three types of guided brown bear walks was evaluated in a between-group design: Within brown bear habitat approaching a radio collared bear (N = 24), within brown bear habitat close visiting the location for a previous bear approach (N = 27), and within a large carnivore park with fenced brown bears (N = 24). The three types of walks all contributed to significantly reduce the participants’ feelings of fear, perceived vulnerability, and to an increase in social trust. The effect lasted over at least three months. The strongest effects were seen in self-reports and experimental measures among participants who walked in brown bear habitat. The participants reported that the experience of the terrain, being close to a bear under controlled conditions as well as the experienced guide and the group were important aspects that helped reduce feelings of fear. Study II focused upon the effects of information meetings on humans and bears. This study was carried out in parallel with a similar study in Sweden. The verbal information presented was the same as the information given by the guides in Study I, but the participants received the information through an oral presentation. An extensive work was made to recruit participants, yet only six persons attended the information meeting, compared to 97 participants in the Swedish study. One plausible explanation is that the Norweigan meeting was arranged in collaboration with Rovdyrsenteret in Flå that is located in an area without presence of brown bears. The six participants in the meeting reported reduced feelings of fear of encountering brown bears. Study III complemented Study II and aimed at understanding how verbal information about brown bears is received by students who in their future work may meet persons who fear bears. Moreover, in a between-group design the effect was compared between the information on humans and bears interactions (N = 28) given in Study II and information on brown bear ecology (N = 35). The results show that students who listened to the information on humans and bear interactions afterwards provided more elaborated examples on how they themselves would take care of a person who expressed feelings of fears than did those who had listened to information on brown bear ecology.

The results show that guided walks in brown bear habitats and information about bears designed according to psychological principles and led by experienced guides may reduce people’s fear of encountering brown bears in nature. Principles for how these interventions could and should be used in practice needs to be developed together with large carnivore information centers and managing authorities. The interventions should also be further developed to be spread to different groups in society.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • Mittuniversitetet
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Samhällsvetenskap


FörlagNorsk Institutt for naturforskning
Antal sidor37
StatusPublished - 2018


NamnNINA rapport
FörlagNorsk Institutt for naturforskning