page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,page,page-id-13579,bridge-core-2.1,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,no_animation_on_touch,qode_grid_1200,qode-theme-ver-19.7,qode-theme-bridge,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.1,vc_responsive,elementor-default,elementor-kit-16425


The first follow-up data collection started in January 2024. The SAGA cohort is a unique nationwide study on the impact of trauma on women ‘s health. The target population are all women, 18 years or older, residing in Iceland during the first wave of data collection. From March 2018 till June 2019 participants answered an extensive web-based questionnaire on trauma history and health. They will then be prospectively followed for diagnoses of major physical diseases and mental disorders.

The majority of individuals are at some point during their life course exposed to trauma or severe adversities.  Women are frequently, and often early on in their lives, subjected to violence; indeed, the World Health Organization estimate suggest that one in every three women are globally subjected to sexual or physical violence. Accumulating evidence suggest that such trauma may affect psychological but also physical health.  Yet, large undertakings are needed to significantly advance our understanding of the complex association between trauma exposure and long-term morbidities.

With population-based health registers and genetic resources, Iceland has unique prerequisites for contributing significantly to the knowledgebase in this important area.

With this rationale and funding from the European Research Council and the Icelandic Research Fund, the University of Iceland in collaboration with deCODE Genetics, The Icelandic SAGA (Stress-And-Gene-Analysis) Cohort was established.

The overarching aim of the SAGA cohort is to significantly advance our understanding of the role of trauma and major adversities in women’s health.  The specific aims are to improve understanding of:

  1. The lifetime prevalence of various trauma and major adversities among Icelandic women
  2. The health consequences suffered by women exposed to trauma or major adversities
  3. The genetic contribution to varying health trajectories following exposure to trauma

The study population and methods: All women living in Iceland, 18-69 years (approximately 110,000 women) were invited to participate in the study from March 2018 through June 2019. Women older than 69 years and Icelandic women living abroad with electronic Ids could also participate but were not  actively recruited. A total of 31.811 women participated in the study. Participation involved answering an extensive online questionnaire on history of trauma and health, as well as current symptoms of mental and physical morbidities. The participating women provided an informed consent for record linkage to the nationwide health registers as well as to genetic data at deCODE Genetics.

The SAGA cohort is one of the largest scientific undertakings specifically designed for improved understanding of the impact of trauma on women’s health and the potential genetic underpinnings of varying trajectories of health after exposure to such trauma.  As such, the results may in the future contribute to prevention and treatment of adverse health consequences suffered by the large populations exposed to trauma.

The SAGA cohort is organized by investigators at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, in collaboration with deCODE Genetics as well as an extended pool of leading national and international experts in the field.

For information please contact or the principal investigators of the study:

Unnur A. Valdimarsdóttir, Professor:

Arna Hauksdóttir, Professor:

The preliminary results of the Saga Cohort show that the participants represent the Icelandic women’s nation well.


When the background of the participants is compared to the background of the Icelandic women as a whole, it can be clearly seen that the participants represent the Icelandic women well, which increases the significance of the study.

Here you can review the sociodemographic characteristics of SAGA participants vs. the general female population of Iceland



When the age of the participants is compared to the age of all women in Iceland, it becomes clear that the participants of the study represent Icelandic women well.


When the education of the participants is compared with the education of all women in Iceland, it becomes clear that the level of education of the participants of the study also represents the Icelandic women well.

Average wages

When the total income of the participants is compared to the total income of all women in Iceland, it becomes clear that the participants of the study once again represent the Icelandic female nation well.

Participation rate

Finally, when the place of residence of the participants of the study is proportionally compared to the place of residence of all women in Iceland, it is clear how much the participants of the study reflect the Icelandic women’s nation.