The aim of the present study was to explore contextual and individual factors associated with acute stress reactions in three Norwegian submarine crews exposed to different significant peacetime maneuver accidents. Approximately 2 to 3 weeks after the accidents, crew members completed the Coping Style Questionnaire, the General Health Questionnaire, the Impact of Event Scale, and the Post-Traumatic Symptom Scale. Although exposed subjects (N = 47) revealed more posttraumatic stress symptoms than nonexposed crew members on shore leave (N = 7), they showed less acute stress reactions than survivors from a surface ship accident in the Norwegian Navy. Inspection of individual cases revealed that 4% of the exposed submariners showed high loads of acute stress symptoms. Unit cohesion and habitual coping styles emerged as resilience factors, whereas previous exposure to critical incidents and personal experience of not coping in the accident situation emerged as vulnerability factors, explaining 32% of the acute stress reactions reported by submarine crew members.
The present study explored sex and cultural differences in Emotional Intelligence scores in samples from Norway (n = 297) and the United States (n = 234). Significant main effects for sex were found in overall Emotional Intelligence scores and the Empathy factor. In addition, results revealed a small but significant effect for culture in the Self-control factor, as well as support for an interaction between sex and culture in the Handling Relationships factor. The results are discussed in light of cultural differences between U.S. and Norwegian societies.
A large number of studies have shown that hardiness and cohesion are associated with mental health in a military context. However, most of them are presented without controlling for baseline mental health symptoms, which is their most significant source of error. The present study investigates the combined effect of hardiness and cohesion in a prospective design, controlling for baseline levels of symptoms among Norwegian personnel serving in a peacekeeping operation in Kosovo. Multivariate regression analyses were performed in which self-reported mental health complaints were regressed on our explanatory variables. Our findings suggest that both cohesion and hardiness contributed to increased stress resiliency, as measured by a lower level of reported mental health complaints. Our baseline measure of mental health accounted for a larger proportion of the variance than our other predictors. A significant interaction between cohesion and hardiness suggested a combined effect, over and above the individual contributions of the predictors. For individuals who scored high on hardiness, cohesion levels did not influence levels of mental health complaints. Individuals who scored low on hardiness, on the other hand, reported lower levels of mental health complaints when cohesion levels were high.
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The current study examined the relationship between dispositional optimism and situation awareness. A sample of 77 Royal Norwegian Naval Academy and 57 Royal Norwegian Army Academy cadets were administered the Life Orientation Test prior to participating in a field-training exercise involving a series of challenging missions. Following an infantry mission component of the exercise, situation awareness was measured using the Mission Awareness Rating Scale (MARS), a self-assessment tool. The analysis indicated that dispositional optimism correlated negatively with situation awareness under these conditions. The role of intrapersonal variables in mediating situation awareness and decision-making in stressful situations is discussed.
This study prospectively investigated the effects of psychological hardiness, job control, and job demands on medically certified sickness absence. Data from a questionnaire survey were combined with archival data for sickness absence among 7,239 civilian and military employees of the Norwegian Armed Forces (84.3% male, 69.8% military). A 2-component hurdle regression was used in the statistical analyses of the sickness absence data. After controlling for age, sex, and baseline absence, hardiness predicted both the likelihood of having any sickness absence (odds ratio = 0.97) and the number of absence spells (a 6.5% decrease in the expected count for 1 standard deviation change in hardiness). In addition, an interaction was found among hardiness, job control, and psychological demands. When demands were high, high job control was associated with more absence among employees with low levels of hardiness. Together, these findings point to hardiness as an important individual resource in relation to health, and that it is necessary to consider individual differences when examining the effects of work characteristics.
Military personnel often engage in excessive alcohol use after returning from deployments. Thus far, research has paid scant attention to personality factors that may increase or diminish the risk for increased alcohol consumption in this population. The present study explores how psychological hardiness, avoidance coping, and stress exposure may interact to influence alcohol consumption patterns in soldiers following deployment. U.S. Army National Guard soldiers (N = 357) were surveyed shortly after returning from combat operations in Afghanistan. Conditional process analysis was used to test for mediation and moderation effects. Mediation effects were further tested in a replication sample of Norwegian Army soldiers (N = 230) deployed to Kosovo. Findings show that hardiness is a significant (negative) predictor of increased alcohol use and that this relation is mediated by avoidance coping. Further, this effect was moderated by combat stress exposure in the U.S. sample, such that the mediation is stronger for those with greater exposure (moderated-mediation). Avoidance coping also mediated the effects of hardiness on alcohol consumption in the Norwegian sample. These findings suggest that avoidance coping and hardiness may be fruitful areas for interventions aimed at reducing risky drinking in high-stress groups like the military.
The aim of the paper was to study the relationship between heart rate variability (HRV) and cortisol release during cognitive challenging tasks. Forty-nine male naval cadets from the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy were administered computerised versions of attentional and working memory tests. The results from this study support the hypothesis of a negative correlation between HRV and cortisol secretion during cognitive tasks. Confirmation of the hypothesis with the low HRV group scoring higher on cortisol only during performance of cognitive tasks and recovery was also found. Furthermore, a replication of the previous findings of a negative association between cortisol levels and performance were supported when using uncorrected comparisons. None of the correlations survived Bonferonin corrections. The findings are discussed in relation to factors increasing HRV, thus improving tolerance to cognitive stress in onboard environments.
The present study explores the impact of long-term partial sleep deprivation on the activation of moral justice schemas, which are suggested to play a prominent role in moral reasoning and the formation of moral judgments and behavior.
Participants judged 5 dilemmas in rested and partially sleep deprived condition, in a counterbalanced design.
In classroom and field exercises at the Norwegian Naval Academy and the Norwegian Army Academy.
Seventy-one Norwegian naval and army officer cadets.
The results showed that the officers' ability to conduct mature and principally oriented moral reasoning was severely impaired during partial sleep deprivation compared to the rested state. At the same time, the officers became substantially more rules-oriented in the sleep deprived condition, while self-oriented moral reasoning did not change. Interaction effects showed that those officers who displayed high levels of mature moral reasoning (n = 24) in the rested condition, lost much of this capacity during sleep deprivation in favor of a strong increase in rules-oriented moral reasoning as well as self-orientation. Conversely, officers at low levels of mature moral reasoning in rested condition (n = 23) were unaffected by sleep deprivation.
The present data show that long-term partial sleep deprivation has an impact on the activation of moral justice schemas, and consequently on the ability to make moral justice judgments.
In this study of victims of sexual abuse, the aim was to investigate the role of perceived social support and abuse characteristics in self-reported insomnia, nightmare frequency, and nightmare distress. Four hundred sixty Norwegian victims of sexual abuse completed a questionnaire assessing perceived social support, abuse characteristics, insomnia, nightmare frequency, and nightmare distress. Results show that higher levels of perceived social support were related to lower scores on all symptom outcome measures. Abuse involving oral, genital, or anal penetration was related to more insomnia symptoms. Longer duration of abuse and threatening conducted by the perpetrator were related to higher nightmare frequency, while threats and abuse involving penetration were related to higher degrees of distress associated with nightmares. In conclusion, the present study provides preliminary data indicating that perceived social support may affect the nature of sleep difficulties in sexual abuse victims. Also, more severe forms of sexual abuse are related to higher levels of sleep difficulties.
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.