Flashbulb memories and posttraumatic stress reactions across the life span: age-related effects of the German occupation of Denmark during World War II.
A representative sample of older Danes were interviewed about experiences from the German occupation of Denmark in World War II. The number of participants with flashbulb memories for the German invasion (1940) and capitulation (1945) increased with participants' age at the time of the events up to age 8. Among participants under 8 years at the time of their most traumatic event, age at the time correlated positively with the current level of posttraumatic stress reactions and the vividness of stressful memories and their centrality to life story and identity. These findings were replicated in Study 2 for self-nominated stressful events sampled from the entire life span using a representative sample of Danes born after 1945. The results are discussed in relation to posttraumatic stress disorder and childhood amnesia.