Olav Vassend

Image of Olav Vassend
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47-22845197
Room S04-27
Visiting address Forskningsveien 3A Harald Schjelderups hus 0373 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1094 Blindern 0317 OSLO

Academic Interests

  • My research interests are mainly in personality psychology, health psychology, and behavioral genetics. A major theme of my work centers on personality trait structure and the relationships between personality traits and subjective health complaints. This work largely uses methods derived from survey studies and structural equation modeling to investigate hypothesized models of the personality-health relationship. More recently I have extended this research to explore the role of genetic and environmental factors, using twin samples. A second theme in my research concerns psychobiological aspects of experimental and clinical pain, including behavioral genetics studies of common pain-related complaints as well as more infrequent chronic pain conditions

Other interests:

  • Psychometrics and applied statistics
  • Clinical communication
  • Philosophy of psychology, philosophy of science


  • Introduction to personality psychology, PSYC1204/PSY1101.
  • Ethics in psychology, clinical communication, PSYC1202.
  • Personality assessment, psychometrics and research methods in personality psychology, PSYC4500

Higher education and employment history

  • Educated at the University of Oslo (Cand. Psychol., Cand. Scient.), doctoral degree (Dr. Philos.) in psychology in 1988.
  • Research assistant and research fellow at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo 1981-1987.
  • Professor of Behavioral Science at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Oslo 1988-2005.
  • Professor of Personality Psychology at the Department of Psychology 2005-.


  • Department of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
  • The National Institute of Occupational Health.
Tags: Personality psychology, Health psychology, Behavioral Genetics


  • Røysamb, Espen; Nes, Ragnhild Bang; Czajkowski, Nikolai Olavi & Vassend, Olav (2018). Genetics, personality and wellbeing. A twin study of traits, facets and life satisfaction. Scientific Reports.  ISSN 2045-2322.  8 . doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29881-x Full text in Research Archive.
  • Vassend, Olav; Røysamb, Espen; Nielsen, Christopher Sivert & Czajkowski, Nikolai Olavi (2018). Fatigue symptoms in relation to neuroticism, anxiety-depression, and musculoskeletal pain. A longitudinal twin study. PLOS ONE.  ISSN 1932-6203.  13(6) . doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0198594 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Vassend, Olav; Røysamb, Espen; Nielsen, Christopher Sivert & Czajkowski, Nikolai Olavi (2017). Musculoskeletal Complaints, Anxiety–Depression Symptoms, and Neuroticism: A Study of Middle-Aged Twins. Health Psychology.  ISSN 0278-6133.  36(8), s 729- 739 . doi: 10.1037/hea0000484
  • Bech, P.; Carrozzino, D.; Austin, Stephen F.; Møller, Silje Bakke & Vassend, Olav (2016). Measuring euthymia within the Neuroticism Scale from the NEO Personality Inventory: A Mokken analysis of the Norwegian general population study for scalability. Journal of Affective Disorders.  ISSN 0165-0327.  193, s 99- 102 . doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.12.039
  • Carrozzino, Danilo; Vassend, Olav; Bjørndal, Flemming; Pignolo, Claudia; Raabæk Olsen, Lis & Bech, Per (2016). A clinimetric analysis of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R) in general population studies (Denmark, Norway, and Italy). Nordic Journal of Psychiatry.  ISSN 0803-9488.  70(5), s 374- 379 . doi: 10.3109/08039488.2016.1155235
  • Vassend, Olav; Orvik, Benedicte Humborstad; Czajkowski, Nikolai Olavi & Røysamb, Espen (2016). Facets of neuroticism and musculoskeletal symptoms. A study of middle-aged twins. Norsk Epidemiologi.  ISSN 0803-2491.  26(1-2), s 47- 56 . doi: 10.5324/nje.v26i1-2.2015
  • Vassend, Olav (2015). Personlighetstrekk i relasjon til psykisk og fysisk helse, I: Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair & Roger Hagen (red.),  Personlighetspsykologi.  Fagbokforlaget.  ISBN 978-82-450-1715-1.  Kapittel 8.  s 191 - 217
  • Vassend, Olav; Røysamb, Espen & Nielsen, Christopher Sivert (2013). Five-factor personality traits and pain sensitivity: A twin study. Pain.  ISSN 0304-3959.  154(5), s 722- 728 . doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2013.01.010
  • Mohn, Christine; Vassend, Olav & Knardahl, Stein (2012). Cardiovascular responses to and modulation of pressure pain sensitivity in normotensive, pain-free women. Scandinavian Journal of Pain.  ISSN 1877-8860.  3(3), s 165- 169 . doi: 10.1016/j.sjpain.2011.12.001 Show summary
  • Vassend, Olav; Røysamb, Espen & Nielsen, Christopher Sivert (2012). Neuroticism and self-reported somatic health: A twin study. Psychology and Health.  ISSN 0887-0446.  27(1), s 1- 12 . doi: 10.1080/08870446.2010.540665
  • Mohn, Christine; Vassend, Olav & Knardahl, Stein (2011). Psychophysiological responses to pain stimulation and cognitive tasks in female temporomandibular disorder patients. Scandinavian Journal of Pain.  ISSN 1877-8860.  2(2), s 72- 82 . doi: 10.1016/j.sjpain.2010.12.001. Show summary
  • Vassend, Olav; Quale, Anette Johansen; Røise, Olav & Schanke, Anne-Kristine (2011). Predicting the long-term impact of acquired severe injuries on functional health status: The role of optimism, emotional distress, and pain. Spinal Cord.  ISSN 1362-4393.  49(12), s 1193- 1197 . doi: 10.1038/sc.2011.70
  • Vassend, Olav; Røysamb, Espen & Nielsen, Christopher Sivert (2011). Dental anxiety in relation to neuroticism and pain sensitivity. A twin study. Journal of Anxiety Disorders.  ISSN 0887-6185.  25(2), s 302- 308 . doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.09.015
  • Vassend, Olav & Skrondal, Anders (2011). The NEO personality inventory revised (NEO-PI-R): Exploring the measurement structure and variants of the five-factor model. Personality and Individual Differences.  ISSN 0191-8869.  50(8), s 1300- 1304 . doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2011.03.002
  • Mohn, Christine; Vassend, Olav; Krogstad, Berit Heyerdahl & Knardahl, Stein (2010). Personality traits and subjective health complaints in female TMD patients and healthy controls. The Open Pain Journal.  ISSN 1876-3863.  3, s 134- 143 Show summary
  • Mohn, Christine; Vassend, Olav & Knardahl, Stein (2008). Experimental pain sensitivity in women with temporomandibular disorders and pain-free controls: the relationship to orofacial muscular contraction and cardiovascular responses. The Clinical Journal of Pain.  ISSN 0749-8047.  24(4), s 343- 352 . doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e318162eaf4 Show summary
  • Nielsen, Christopher Sivert; Stubhaug, Audun; Price, Donald D; Vassend, Olav; Czajkowski, Nikolai & Harris, Jennifer (2008). Individual differences in pain sensitivity: Genetic and environmental contributions. Pain.  ISSN 0304-3959.  136(1-2), s 21- 29 . doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2007.06.008
  • Watten, Reidulf G. & Vassend, Olav (2005). Personality and intelligence, In Asbjørn O. Faleide (ed.),  Selvregulering, personlighet og helse : et psykofysiologisk og psykosomatisk perspektiv.  Unipub forlag.  ISBN 82-7477-207-5.  Kapittel 9.  s 143 - 159
  • Nielsen, Christopher Sivert; Price, Donald D.; Vassend, Olav; Stubhaug, Audun & Harris, Jennifer R. (2005). Characterizing individual differences in heat-pain sensitivity. Pain.  ISSN 0304-3959.  119(1-3), s 65- 74
  • Vassend, Olav; Knardahl, Stein & Knardahl, Stein (2005). Effects of repeated electrocutaneous pain stimulation on facial blood flow. Biological Psychology.  ISSN 0301-0511.  68, s 163- 178
  • Vassend, Olav; Knardahl, Stein & Knardahl, Stein (2005). Personality, affective response, and facial blood flow during brief cognitive tasks. International Journal of Psychophysiology.  ISSN 0167-8760.  55, s 265- 278
  • Vassend, Olav & Knardahl, Stein (2004). Cardiovascular responsiveness to brief cognitive challenges and pain sensitivity in women. European Journal of Pain.  ISSN 1090-3801.  8, s 315- 324
  • Willumsen, Tiril & Vassend, Olav (2003). Effects of cognitive therapy, applied relaxation and nitrous oxide sedation. A five-year follow-up study of patients treated for dental fear. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica.  ISSN 0001-6357.  61, s 93- 99
  • Willumsen, Tiril; Vassend, Olav & Hoffart, Asle (2001). A Comparison of Cognitive Therapy, Applied Relaxation and Nitrous Oxide Sedation in the Treatment of Dental Fear. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica.  ISSN 0001-6357.  59, s 290- 296 Show summary
  • Willumsen, Tiril; Vassend, Olav & Hoffart, Asle (2001). One-year Follow-up of Patients Treated for Dental Fear: Effects of Cognitive Therapy, Applied Relaxation and Nitrous Oxide Sedation. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica.  ISSN 0001-6357.  59, s 335- 340 Show summary
  • Vassend, Olav; Willumsen, Tiril & Hoffart, Asle (2000). Effects of dental fear treatment on general distress. The role of personality variables and treatment method. Behavior Modification.  ISSN 0145-4455.  24(4), s 580- 599
  • Vassend, Olav & Skrondal, Anders (1999). The problem of structural indeterminacy in multidimensional symptom report instruments. The case of SCL-90-R. Behaviour Research and Therapy.  ISSN 0005-7967.  37, s 685- 701
  • Vassend, Olav & Skrondal, Anders (1999). The role of negative affectivity in self-assessment of Health. A structural equation approach. Journal of Health Psychology.  ISSN 1359-1053.  4(4), s 465- 482
  • Vassend, Olav & Eskild, Anne (1998). Psychological distress, coping, and disease progression in HIV-positive homosexual men. Journal of Health Psychology.  ISSN 1359-1053.  3(2), s 243- 257 Show summary
  • Vassend, Olav; Eskild, Anne & Halvorsen, Ragnhild (1997). Negative affectivity, coping, immune status, and disease progression in HIV infected individuals. Psychology and Health.  ISSN 0887-0446.  12, s 375- 388
  • Vassend, Olav & Skrondal, Anders (1997). Validation of the NEO Personality Inventory and the five-factor model. Can findings from exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis be reconciled?. European Journal of Personality.  ISSN 0890-2070.  11, s 147- 166
  • Watten, Reidulf G.; Vassend, Olav; Myhrer, Trond & Syversen, Jon-Lars (1997). Personality factors and somatic symptoms. European Journal of Personality.  ISSN 0890-2070.  11, s 57- 68
  • Krogstad, Berit Schie; Jokstad, Asbjørn; Dahl, Bjørn L. & Vassend, Olav (1996). Relationships between risk factors and treatment outcome in a group of patients with Temporomandibular disorders. Journal of Orofacial Pain.  ISSN 1064-6655.  10, s 48- 53
  • Krogstad, Berit Schie; Jokstad, Asbjørn; Dahl, Bjørn L. & Vassend, Olav (1996). The reporting of pain, somatic complaints, and anxiety in a group of TMD-patients before and after two years treatment. Sex differences. Journal of Orofacial Pain.  ISSN 1064-6655.  10, s 263- 269
  • Vassend, Olav; Krogstad, Berit Schie & Dahl, Bjørn (1995). Negative affectivity, somatic complaints, and symptoms of temporomandibular disorders. Journal of Psychosomatic Research.  ISSN 0022-3999.  39, s 889- 899
  • Vassend, Olav & Skrondal, Anders (1995). Factor analytic studies of the NEO Personality Inventory and the five-factor model: The problem of high structural complexity and conceptual indeterminacy. Personality and Individual Differences.  ISSN 0191-8869.  19, s 135- 147
  • Watten, Reidulf G.; Vassend, Olav; Syversen, Jon-Lars & Myhrer, Trond (1995). Personality and quality of life. Social Indicators Research.  ISSN 0303-8300.  35, s 289- 302
  • Wisløff, T.F.; Vassend, Olav & Asmyhr, Ø. (1995). Dental anxiety, utilization of dental services, and DMFS status in Norwegian military recruits. Community Dental Health.  ISSN 0265-539X.  12, s 100- 103
  • Vassend, Olav (1994). Negative affectivity, subjective somatic complaints, and objective health indicators. Mind and body still separated?, In Stan Maes; Harold Leventhal & Marie Johnston (ed.),  International Review of Health Psychology, Volume 3.  John Wiley & Sons.  ISBN 978-0-471-94456-0.  Kapittel 4.  s 97 - 118
  • Vassend, Olav; Watten, Reidulf G.; Myhrer, Trond & Syvertsen, Jon Lars (1994). Negative affectivity and intellectual ability: A study of their relation to self-reported physical symptoms, perceived daily stress and mood, and disciplinary problems in military recruits. Social Science and Medicine.  ISSN 0277-9536.  39(4), s 583- 590
  • Vassend, Olav (1993). Anxiety, pain and discomfort associated with dental treatment. Behaviour Research and Therapy.  ISSN 0005-7967.  31, s 659- 666
  • Vassend, Olav (1989). Dimensions of negative affectivity, self-reported somatic symptoms, and health-related behaviors. Social Science and Medicine.  ISSN 0277-9536.  28, s 29- 36
  • Vassend, Olav (1989). Hypnotizability, imaginative involvement, and anxiety. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.  ISSN 0036-5564.  30, s 30- 36
  • Vassend, Olav (1988). Dimensions of hypnotic Depth: An exploratory study. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.  ISSN 0036-5564.  29, s 207- 213
  • Halvorsen, Ragnhild & Vassend, Olav (1987). Effects of examination stress on some cellular immunity functions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research.  ISSN 0022-3999.  31, s 693- 701
  • Vassend, Olav (1987). Examination stress, personality, and self-reported physical symptoms. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.  ISSN 0036-5564.  29, s 21- 32
  • Vassend, Olav (1987). Personality, imaginative involvement, and self-reported somatic complaints. Relevance to the concept of alxithymia. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.  ISSN 0033-3190.  47, s 74- 81
  • Vassend, Olav & Halvorsen, Ragnhild (1987). Personality, examination stress and serum concentrations of immunoglobulins. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.  ISSN 0036-5564.  28, s 233- 241
  • Vassend, Olav; Halvorsen, Ragnhild & Norman, Nils (1987). Hormonal and psychological effects of examination stress. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.  ISSN 0036-5564.  28, s 75- 82
  • Vassend, Olav (1985). Begreper og teoridannelse i psykosomatisk forskning. Noen utvalgte emner. Del I. Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening.  ISSN 0332-6470.  22, s 549- 560
  • Vassend, Olav (1985). Begreper og teoridannelse i psykosomatisk forskning. Noen utvalgte emner. Del II. Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening.  ISSN 0332-6470.  22, s 613- 626
  • Vassend, Olav (1985). Hypnose og psykoanalytisk orientert terapi. Noen generelle problemer og prinsipper. Nordisk Psykiatrisk Tidsskrift.  ISSN 0029-1455.  39, s 29- 36
  • Vassend, Olav (1985). Psykosomatikkbegrepet. Forsøk på en avgrensning. Agrippa - psykiatriske tekster.  ISSN 0106-0457.  4, s 251- 262
  • Vassend, Olav (1985). Somatiske og psykologiske aspekter ved asthma bronchiale hos barn. Nordisk Psykiatrisk Tidsskrift.  ISSN 0029-1455.  39, s 493- 500
  • Vassend, Olav (1984). Paradoksal familieterapi. Teori, prinsipper og teknikker. Fokus på familien.  ISSN 0332-5415.  12, s 67- 85
  • Vassend, Olav (1984). Sykdom, familie og mestring. Fokus på familien.  ISSN 0332-5415.  12, s 187- 201
  • Vassend, Olav (1983). Barn med astma. En studie av foreldre-barn kommunikasjon i en konfliktsituasjon. Fokus på familien.  ISSN 0332-5415.  3, s 95- 111
  • Vassend, Olav (1983). Det ubevisste og selv-innsikt. En filosofisk undersøkelse. Agrippa - psykiatriske tekster.  ISSN 0106-0457.  5, s 261- 281
  • Vassend, Olav (1983). Psykologiske metoder ved behandling av pasienter med asthma bronchiale. En litteraturoversikt. Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening.  ISSN 0332-6470.  20, s 520- 531
  • Vassend, Olav; Bjærke, Stian & Faleide, Asbjørn O. (1983). Familieinteraksjon og astma hos barn. En undersøkelse med Familie-Rorschach. Fokus på familien.  ISSN 0332-5415.  3, s 123- 134
  • Vassend, Olav (1981). Psykososiale faktorer ved asthma bronchiale hos barn: Teorier og forskning. Fokus på familien.  ISSN 0332-5415.  2

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  • Vassend, Olav (1997). Kommunikasjon og pasientbehandling. Praktisk psykologi for helsepersonell med eksempler fra odontologi. Spartacus forlag a/s.  ISBN 82-430-0058-5.  239 s.
  • Vassend, Olav & Skrondal, Anders (1996). A study of the NEO personality inventory and the five factor model. Factor models and descriptive statistics based on a Norwegian national sample. Norsk Psykologforening.  ISBN 82-91473-04-8.

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  • Vleeshouwes, Jolien; Christensen, Jan Olav & Vassend, Olav (2018). Psychological and social work factors as contributors to sleep problems and number of musculoskeletal complaints. Series of Dissertations submitted to the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo. XX.
  • Bang Nes, Ragnhild; Czajkowski, Nikolai Olavi; Røysamb, Espen & Vassend, Olav (2017). Components and sources of well-being and ill-being: A twin study.
  • Czajkowski, Nikolai Olavi; Bang Nes, Ragnhild; Vassend, Olav & Røysamb, Espen (2017). Effects of somatic and mental illness on subjective well-being. A discordant twin analysis.
  • H. Kleppestø, Thomas; Czajkowski, Nikolai Olavi; Vassend, Olav; Røysamb, Espen; R. Kunst, Jonas & Thomsen, Lotte (2017). Preferring domination or egalitarianism: Genetic and environmental structure of Social Dominance Orientation.
  • Røysamb, Espen; Bang Nes, Ragnhild; Czajkowski, Nikolai Olavi & Vassend, Olav (2017). Anxiety, depression and life satisfaction after midlife. A twin study across 20 years.
  • Vassend, Olav; Nielsen, Christopher Sivert; Røysamb, Espen & Czajkowski, Nikolai Olavi (2017). Fatigue symptoms in relation to neuroticism, anxiety-depression, and musculoskeletal pain. A longitudinal study.
  • Vassend, Olav (2005). Cardiovascular responsiveness to pain stimulation and brief cognitive challenges. Relationship to pain sensitivity. (Thesis for the Degree of Cand. Scient.).
  • Vassend, Olav & Skrondal, Anders (2003). Interpretation of the SCL-90-R. A psychometric study based on a Norwegian national sample.
  • Mohn, Christine; Vassend, Olav & Knardahl, Stein (2002). Effects of distraction on experimental pain in temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and healthy controls.
  • Mohn, Hanne Christine; Vassend, Olav & Knardahl, Stein (2002). Personality traits and psychological distress in temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
  • Reinvang, Ivar; Vassend, Olav & Middelborg, Jon (1996). ERP indicators of processing of semantic distractors in normal subjects. Psychophysiology.  ISSN 0048-5772.  32, s 62- 62
  • Holst, Dorthe; Grytten, Jostein Ivar; Rossow, Ingeborg; Wang, Nina Johanne & Vassend, Olav (1990). Loss of teeth in the adult population in Norway.
  • Vassend, Olav (1988). Examination stress, personality, and somatic responses.

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Published Oct. 6, 2010 2:07 PM - Last modified July 8, 2019 4:01 PM