Bjørn Helge Johnsen

University of Bergen, Bergen, Hordaland, Norway

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Publications (95)117.71 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: a b s t r a c t The literature on the association between psychopathy and anxiety is somewhat mixed, but it has been proposed that one possible advantage of psychopathy might be resiliency against anxiety. Another con-struct related to resiliency is psychological hardiness, and several studies have identified associations between psychological hardiness, anxiety responses, and physical and mental health effects of stress. The aim of the current study is to examine whether characteristics of psychological hardiness mediate the relationship between traits of psychopathy and experienced anxiety in a prison setting. The results showed a divergence in the psychopathy construct, since two underlying factors (the two-factor model of the PCL-R) had divergent relationships with anxiety. Through mediation analyses (PROCESS), we found this relationship to be partly mediated by the commitment dimension of psychological hardiness. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to explore the possible mediating effect of psychological hardiness on the relationship between psychopathy and anxiety. The relative immunity to anxiety pre-viously linked to psychopathy could thus be partly explained by higher levels of hardiness commitment. Ó 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).
    Personality and Individual Differences 01/2015; · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The capacity to interpret others people's behavior and mental states is a vital part of human social communication. This ability, also called mentalizing or Theory of Mind (ToM), may also serve as a protective factor against aggression and antisocial behavior. This study investigates the relationship between two measures of psychopathy (clinical assessment and self-report) and the ability to identify mental states from photographs of the eye region. The participants in the study were 92 male inmates at Bergen prison, Norway. The results showed some discrepancy in connection to assessment methodology. For the self-report (SRP-III), we found an overall negative association between mental state discrimination and psychopathy, while for the clinical instrument (PCL-R) the results were more mixed. For Factor 1 psychopathic traits (interpersonal and affective), we found positive associations with discrimination of neutral mental states, but not with the positive or negative mental states. Factor 2 traits (antisocial lifestyle) were found to be negatively associated with discrimination of mental states. The results from this study demonstrate a heterogeneity in the psychopathic construct where psychopathic traits related to an antisocial and impulsive lifestyle are associated with lower ability to recognize others' mental states, while interpersonal and affective psychopathic traits are associated with a somewhat enhanced ability to recognize others' emotional states.
    Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 06/2014; · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: A major problem facing military personnel and veterans is alcohol abuse, which can devastate individual lives, and also drives up health care costs and degrades the readiness of military forces. Alcohol and substance abuse in turn contribute to a range of other negative outcomes including depression, family violence and suicide. Effective screening is essential for early identification of soldiers at high risk for stress-related alcohol problems, in order to target preventive assistance to those who need it most. Current screening tools used in the U.S. Department of Defense are not sufficiently sensitive, failing to identify many at-risk soldiers. These tools ask directly about recent drinking behavior, yielding multiple false-negatives because: (1) troops tend to minimize or deny drinking problems for fear of negative repercussions; (2) many young troops with a drinking problem fail to recognize it as such; and (3) access to alcohol is often highly restricted in theater, so reports of drinking behavior are uniformly low for returning troops, despite individual risk profiles. Thus, screening tools that rely on direct questions about drinking behaviors fail to identify many potential problem drinkers. Other nations also screen for alcohol abuse risk with direct questions, as with the AUDIT and CAGE instruments. On the other hand indirect measures, which assess personal factors associated with alcohol risk, are not vulnerable to these same validity problems. The present research evaluates psychological hardiness and avoidance coping as potential markers for alcohol abuse risk in military personnel following deployments. METHODS: In the present study, we measured hardiness (15-item DRS scale), avoidance coping (10-item scale), and alcohol use patterns in US National Guard troops recently returned from deployment to Afghanistan. Alcohol use was assessed with traditional measures (eg AUDIT, CAGE) at Time 1 immediately upon return, and again 7-8 months later. A companion study examines the same variables in a large sample of Norwegian defense workers using data from a multi-year national defense health survey. RESULTS: Logistic regression results for the Time 1 US data show that low hardiness and high avoidance coping independently predict alcohol abuse in returning soldiers, even after controlling for age and combat exposure (final model Nagelkerke R-square = .14). Odds ratios show that risk of alcohol abuse increases 7% for each one point drop in total hardiness levels (hardiness score range = 10 to 43). Avoidance coping also independently predicts alcohol abuse, again controlling for age and combat exposure. At Time 2, avoidance coping but not hardiness predicted alcohol abuse. In the Norwegian sample, both hardiness and avoidance coping independently predicted risk for alcohol abuse, again using logistic regression.. CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate that hardiness and avoidance coping predict alcohol abuse in solders following deployment. Alcohol screening programs for stressed populations such as the military can thus be improved by including brief measures of hardiness and coping style.
    Society for Prevention Research 22nd Annual Meeting 2013; 05/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Seafarer's mental health is vital for a well-functioning organisation. Neglecting mental health status on board could be extremely costly for both the crew affected as well as the company. The present article outlines an extensive programme implemented in the Royal Norwegian Navy for personnel deployed in international operations. The challenges involved in international operations bare similarities to onboard personnel in civilian maritime operations. The program utilised by the Royal Norwegian Navy is extensive and not immediately applicable to civilian maritime companies. However, elements of this program could be used with limited resources. Questionnaire based screening, before, during and at the end of a contract period could result in early detections of mental health problems and increased retaining of personnel. This should be done by health professionals. Early targeting of at risk personnel could prevent serious costs for the individual as well as the company.
    International maritime health 01/2014; 65(2):93-7.
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    ABSTRACT: The goal of the study was to investigate the relationship between Hare's four-facet model of psychopathy and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) in a forensic, culturally homogenous sample. 22 male prisoners from Bergen Prison participated. There was only a statistically significant negative zero-order correlation between the total PCL-R score and the score on the Depression scale of the MMPI-2. However, the results revealed that the four facets had different underlying correlates with negative affectivity. Overall, Facets 1 and 2 showed a tendency toward a negative relationship with the clinical scales on the MMPI-2, while Facets 3 and 4 had a positive relationship. Interestingly, partial correlations showed that Facet 4 of PCL-R was the only facet that correlated statistically significantly with the scores on the Psychopathic Deviate scale of the MMPI-2.
    Psychological Reports 04/2013; 112(2):445-57. · 0.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Psychological hardiness characterizes people who remain healthy under psychosocial stress. The present exploratory study investigates possible links between hardiness and several immune and neuroendocrine markers: IL-6, IL-12, IL-4, IL-10, & neuropeptide-Y. A total of 21 Norwegian navy cadets were studied in the context of a highly stressful military field exercise. Blood samples were collected midway, and again late in the exercise when stress levels were highest. Psychological hardiness (including commitment, control, and challenge) was measured two days before the exercise. While all subjects scored high in hardiness, some were high only in commitment and control, but relatively low in challenge. These "unbalanced" hardiness subjects were also more stress reactive, showing suppressed proinflammatory cytokines (IL-12), increased anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4, IL-10), and lower neuropeptide-Y levels as compared to the hardiness-balanced group. This study thus shows that being high in hardiness with a balanced profile is linked to more moderate and healthy immune and neuroendocrine responses to stress.
    Psychology Health and Medicine 03/2013; · 1.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigates the effects of psychological hardiness and successful completion of a rigorous 250-km ski march over 9 days in Arctic winter conditions. This ski march is the final portion of a selection program for border rangers in the Norwegian Armed Forces. Study participants were N = 178 soldiers with a mean age of 19.9 years (range 18–23). Hierarchical regression results showed that successful completion of the ski march was predicted by total hardiness scores, after controlling for nutrition factors, physical fitness and sensation seeking. A second hierarchical regression found that the commitment facet of hardiness was the most significant predictor of ski march success, again controlling for nutrition, physical fitness and sensation seeking. Analyses of daily participant surveys showed that the high commitment group reported the highest levels of positive daily coping, and also evaluated their performance more positively. This group also showed increasingly positive self-evaluations as the exercise went on. Together, these results indicate that hardiness commitment is a key factor influencing performance in a rigorous and stressful endurance task requiring sustained effort, perhaps by enhancing active coping skills and self-efficacy beliefs.
    International Journal of Selection and Assessment 01/2013; 21(4). · 1.30 Impact Factor
  • Anita L Hansen, Bjørn Helge Johnsen
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between Neuroticism, non-executive functioningand heart rate variability (HRV) in both threat and non-threat situations. Sixty-five male sailors fromthe Royal Norwegian Navy participated in the study. Participants were randomly assigned into non-threat andthreat groups. Neuroticism was measured by the NEO-PI-R and, based on the median-split of Neuroticism,groups were divided into 2 additional groups. A Visual Search Task was used to measure non-executivefunctioning. HRV reactivity was measured during baseline-, test- and recovery-conditions. Overall, the resultsrevealed that there were no differences between any of the groups in terms of the performance onthe Visual Search Task: this was true for both accuracy data and mean reaction time. However, the resultsshowed that the High Neuroticism Threat Group had a significant increase in HRV from test-condition torecovery. This may indicate that the High Neuroticism Threat Group found the whole task condition morestressful due to the threat situation.
    International maritime health. 01/2013; 64(2):54-60.
  • Evelyn-Rose Saus, Bjørn Helge Johnsen, Jarle Eid, Julian F. Thayer
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    ABSTRACT: Objective This study tested the relationship between individual differences and Situation Awareness (SA) during training in a navigation simulator.Background Simulators have become an important tool in the training and education of maritime personnel with a view to improving decisions and performance. There are a few, inconclusive empirical studies that have focused on mapping personality characteristics and their link to the ability to generate and maintain SA during simulator training.Method Thirty-six first-year students from the Royal Norwegian Navy Officer Candidate School participated in the study. SA was measured using both subjective and observer ratings.ResultsThe results indicated that low scores on Neuroticism and high scores on Extraversion and Conscientiousness (resilient personality type) predicted both subjective and observer-rated SA. Furthermore, participants with high SA were able to modulate their Heart Rate Variability (HRV), with suppression of HRV during navigation training as well showing recovery of HRV.ApplicationThe potential applications of this research include the assessment of personality differences as a tool in selecting navigators, and the use of HRV as an objective index of adaptability to environmental demands.
    Computers in Human Behavior 07/2012; 28(4):1262–1268. · 2.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Impaired ability to form associations between negative events in gambling and aversive somatic reactions may be a predisposing factor for pathological gambling. The current study investigated whether a group of pathological gamblers and a control group differed in aversive classical conditioning. A differential aversive classical conditioning paradigm, which consisted of three phases. In the habituation phase, one 850-Hz tone stimulus and one 1500-Hz tone stimulus were presented three times each in random order. In the acquisition phase, the two tones were presented 10 times each in random order, and one was always followed by a 100-dB burst of white noise. In the extinction phase the two tones were presented three times each without the white noise. University laboratory testing facilities and out-patient treatment facilities. Twenty pathological gamblers and 20 control participants. Duration of seven cardiac interbeat-intervals (IBIs) following tone offset, gambling severity, tobacco and alcohol use, anxiety and depression. No group differences were found in the habituation and acquisition phases. However, a significant group × stimuli × trials × IBIs interaction effect was found in the extinction phase (P < 0.049). Follow-up analysis indicated that the pathological gamblers did not show aversive classical conditioning, but that the control group did. Pathological gamblers have a diminished capacity to form associations between aversive events and stimuli that predict aversive events. Aversion learning is likely to be an ineffective treatment for pathological gamblers.
    Addiction 03/2012; 107(9):1660-6. · 4.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The current research investigated cultural differences in emotional intelligence among top officers on board vessels of multicultural maritime companies. We found that Southeast Asian officers scored higher than European officers on the total Emotional Intelligence scale. When separating the EQ scale in its facets, higher scores for Asian officers were found on "Utilization of emotions", "Handling relationships", and on "Self-control". Another finding was that Chief officers/Second engineers scored higher than Masters/Chief Officers on "Self-control". Finally, we found a negative correlation between age and scores on the facet of "Self-control". These crosscultural differences may have implications for interpersonal relations and ship management.〈/p〉
    International maritime health. 01/2012; 63(2):90-5.
  • International Journal of Forensic Mental Health. 01/2012; 11(4):280-288.
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    ABSTRACT: In this theory-driven literature review we examine how leadership and emerging research in positive organizational behaviour (POB) may inform our understanding of human mechanisms that affect safety outcomes. According to authentic leadership theory, leader self-awareness and self-regulation processes are vital mechanisms in the leader–follower exchange. From emerging research on authentic leadership, we propose that production management values, attitudes, and behaviour are linked to safety climate and safety outcomes in safety critical organizations (SCOs). According to recent developments in management theory, “psychological capital” is comprised of four distinct aspects that can be linked to desirable organizational outcomes and sustained high quality performance in individual workers. From this we offer a research model and five research propositions implicating that authentic leadership directly affects safety outcomes via promoting positive safety climate perceptions. Furthermore, we propose a second path where psychological capital mediates the relationship between authentic leadership, safety climate and safety outcomes in SCOs.
    Safety Science. 01/2012; 50(1):55–61.
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    ABSTRACT: We conducted a randomised controlled trial pilot study (N = 30) with two treatment groups: (1) Manualised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) (n = 15) and (2) escitalopram combined with CBT (n = 15). Treatment was administered individually and the CBT included weekly sessions for eight consecutive weeks. The treatment with escitalopram lasted for a minimum of 16 weeks (20 mg/day), with an optional continuation for a 6-month follow-up period. Repeated measures ANOVA with modified intent-to-treat analyses were conducted. Results showed significant time effects on all measures for both treatment conditions, although no significant group or time × group effects. The results indicated that both treatments were effective in the short term (effect sizes (ES) ranging from 0.45 to 0.91 for the CBT group and 0.27 to 0.72 for the escitalopram+CBT group), and that adding CBT to escitalopram had no additional statistically significant effect (between-group ES of 0.11 and 0.29 for primary outcome measures at 16-weeks post-treatment).
    International Gambling Studies 04/2011; 11(1):121-141.
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present manuscript is to present a user-friendly and flexible platform for transforming Kubios HRV output files to an .xls-file format, used by MS Excel. The program utilizes either native or bundled Java and is platform-independent and mobile. This means that it can run without being installed on a computer. It also has an option of continuous transferring of data indicating that it can run in the background while Kubios produces output files. The program checks for changes in the file structure and automatically updates the .xls- output file.
    Biomedical sciences instrumentation 01/2011; 47:35-40.
  • Roar Espevik, Bjørn Helge Johnsen, Jarle Eid
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to test whether the shared mental models of team members have an effect on team performance, communication, and physical arousal in two distributed teams in pursuit of a common goal. A sample (N = 15) of newly formed navy teams was compared with a sample (N = 13) of seasoned navy teams. The results showed that familiar teams displayed higher performance levels, faster reaction times, more accuracy, and greater mission success compared to unfamiliar teams. A significant shift in communication strategy and physiological response (heart rate) was observed between the teams and from baseline to low workload. Implications for team training are discussed.
    Military Psychology - MIL PSYCHOL. 01/2011; 23(6):616-638.
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the role of adult attachment and personality in relation to antisocial tendencies (i.e. convictions for violence and interpersonal problems in romantic relationships) in Norwegian prison inmates (N=92). Attachment styles and personality were measured using self-report questionnaires (RSQ; Griffin & Bartholomew, 1994; and NEO-FFI, Costa & McCrae, 1992a). The prison inmates scored higher on avoidant than on anxious attachment style. While age and agreeableness (negatively associated) emerged as significant predictors of violence, anxious attachment explained most of the variances in aggression in intimate relationships. The study suggests that different types of antisocial tendencies could have different attachment and general personality correlates.
    Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 01/2011; 52(3):268-76. · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Roar Espevik, Bjørn Helge Johnsen, Jarle Eid
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    ABSTRACT: The present study examined whether shared mental models of team members’ characteristics were associated with team outcomes (i.e., performance, communication, and physical arousal) in cross training and a high-intensity simulation requiring coordinated team action. In a quasi-experimental design, 36 Navy officer cadets were randomly assigned to 12 newly formed tactical teams in the no shared mental modal condition (NoSMM). In contrast, 33 Navy officer cadets in 11 seasoned teams were included in the shared mental model condition (TMSMM). All teams were exposed to the same naval scenarios in their cross training and simulation exercise. The results showed that teams with TMSMM had superior performance and communication patterns characterized by updates and confirmations compared to the NoSMM teams during cross training and simulation. During cross training, TMSMM teams provided more backup than NoSMM teams. These findings suggest that shared mental models of team member are transferable through tasks and enhance the effects of cross training. The present study extends previous research indicating that shared mental models of team members represent an independent, adaptive asset at the group level that enhances team efficiency.
    Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making 01/2011; 5(4):352-377.
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the relationship between evaluative conditioning (EC), reinforcement sensitivity, and risk-taking on a simulated slot machine in a lab setting. Participants (51 female, 49 male, mean age 21.01years [SD=2.49] healthy adults) completed an EC paradigm with both negative unconditioned stimuli (negative EC) and positive unconditioned stimuli (positive EC). A negative EC by positive EC interaction effect indicated that those who did not show negative EC or positive EC gambled with lower average bet-size compared to the other participants. Scores on the fight-flight-freeze system (FFFS) and scores on the behavioral approach subscale Reward responsiveness (BAS-RR) were positively associated with average bet-size. An FFFS by BAS-RR interaction effect showed that participants who scored low on both BAS-RR and FFFS had lower bet-sizes compared to the other participants. These findings suggest that conditionability and reinforcement sensitivity play a role in gambling behavior.
    Personality and Individual Differences - PERS INDIV DIFFER. 01/2011; 50(5):729-734.
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    ABSTRACT: The current study compared expert-observer ratings of situation awareness (SA) with subjective self-ratings of SA in Norwegian military academy cadets during a summer combat survival course. The cadets (N = 30) completed an 8-day combat survival course characterized by sleep and food deprivation, continuous operations, and altered circadian entrainment cues. Results indicated that self-ratings of SA did not correlate consistently with expert-observer SA ratings, and self-ratings were consistently higher than expert-observer ratings. The results are congruent with expected effects of these extreme conditions on cognition and self-awareness, demonstrate a pronounced self-enhancement bias and suggest that subjective measures of SA are not likely to provide valid estimates of SA under extreme conditions.
    Military Psychology - MIL PSYCHOL. 01/2011; 23(2):125-136.

Publication Stats

1k Citations
117.71 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1987–2014
    • University of Bergen
      • • Department of Psychosocial Science
      • • Department of Clinical Psychology
      • • Department of Biological and Medical Psychology
      Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
  • 2009
    • The Ohio State University
      • Department of Psychology
      Columbus, OH, United States
  • 2003
    • Universidad de Jaén
      Jaén, Andalusia, Spain
  • 2001
    • University of Wales
      • Department of Psychology
      Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 2000
    • National Institute on Aging
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States