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About me

Post-doctoral researcher in the Division for Epidemiology and Public Health Intervention Research (EPHIR), Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, where I studied psychology (University of Melbourne) and worked in mental health research for several years. I'm interested in how physical activity (and inactivity)  influence mental health. I also have experience in substance dependence research.


PhD; Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, 2012

Studies in youth alcohol consumption and prevention (main supervisor, Professor Sven Andréasson).

Research description

My current research focuses on links between physical activity and mental health; specifically how exercise can be used to treat psychiatric disorders, including depression/anxiety, psychosis and substance abuse. I'm interested in treatment outcomes and underlying mechanisms.

Selected publications below:


Hallgren M, Nakitanda OA, Herring MP, Ekblom O, Owen N, Dunstan D, Helgadottir B, Forsell Y. Habitual physical activity levels predict treatment outcomes in depressed adults: a prospective cohort study. Preventive Medicine. 2016, Volume 88: 53:58..

Hallgren M, Herring M, Owen N, Dunstan D, Ekblom Ö, Helgadottir B, Nakitanda O, Forsell Y. Exercise, physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the treatment of depression: broadening the scientific perspectives and clinical opportunities. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2016, March 11;7:36. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00036.

Hallgren M, Kraepelien M, Öjehagen A, Lindefors N, Zeebari Z, Kaldo V & Forsell Y. Physical exercise and internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy in the treatment of depression: randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 2015; June 18 (Epub ahead of print).

Forsell Y, Hallgren M, Mattson M, Ekblom O, Lavebratt C.FitForLife: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2015 Dec 4;16:553. doi: 10.1186/s13063-015-1071-9.

Lundin A, Hallgren M, Forsman M, Forsell Y. Comparison of DSM-5 Classifications of Alcohol Use Disorders With Those of DSM-IV, DSM-III-R, and ICD-10 in a General Population Sample in Sweden. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2015 Sep;76(5):773-80.

Hallgren, M, Romberg, K, Bakshi A.S. & Andréasson, S. (2014) Yoga as an adjunct treatment for alcohol dependence: a pilot study. Journal of complementary and Alternative Medicine, 22(3):441-5

Hallgren M, Moss N, & Gastin P. Regular exercise participation mediates the affective response to acute bouts of vigorous exercise. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 2010; 9(4):629-637

Hallgren M, Pope HG, Kanayama G, Hudson JI, Lundin A, & Källmén H. Anti-social behaviors associated with Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid use among adolescent males. European Addiction Research,2015:21(6);321-326.

Hallgren M, Åhlén J, Forsell Y & Öjehagen A. Increased screening of alcohol habits among patients with depression is needed. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 2014; 42(7):658-9.

Åhlin J, Hallgren M (equal first), Öjehagen A, Källmén H & Forsell Y. Adults with mild to moderate depression exhibit greater alcohol related problems compared to the general adult population. BMC Public Health, 2015 Jun 9;15:542.

Lundin A, Hallgren M, Forsell Y. The validity of the Symptom Checklist Depression and Anxiety subscales: a general population study in Sweden. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2015 183:247-52.

Lundin A, Hallgren M, Balliu N, Forsell Y. The use of alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) in detecting alcohol use disorder and risk drinking in the general population: validation of AUDIT using schedules for clinical assessment in neuropsychiatry. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2015;39(1):158-65.

Hallgren M. Youth alcohol polarization effects in regional but not national data. Addiction, 2014; 109(8):1384-5.

Hallgren M & Kallmén H. Monitoring the stability of risk factors for adolescent cannabis use. International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research, 2014, 3(4).

Hallgren M, Leifman H & Andréasson S. Drinking less but greater harms: could polarised drinking habits explain the divergence between consumption and harm among youth? Alcohol and Alcoholism, 2012; 47(5):581-90

Hallgren M & Andréasson S. The Swedish six community alcohol and drug prevention trial: Effects on youth drinking. Drug and Alcohol Review, 2013; 32(5):504-511

Hallgren M, Sjölund T, Kallmén H, & Andréasson S. (2010) Modifying alcohol consumption among Swedish high school students: an efficacy trial of an alcohol risk reduction program (PRIME for Life). Health Education, 111(3):216-229

Hallgren M, Högberg P, & Andréasson S. (2010) Alcohol consumption and harm among elderly Europeans. European Journal of Public Health, 20:616-618

Academic honors, awards and prizes

PhD scholarship 2009-2012, Karolinska Institutet (KID)

Post-doctoral award 2015 and 2016: Exercise for Depression, Brain Foundation Sweden (Hjärnfonden):

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Recent invited presentations:

Physiotherapy Association Sweden, Section for Mental Health: Invited lecture on exercise for depression, Gothenberg, March 2016.

University of Limerick, Ireland, Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences. Presented key findings from the REGASSA project, a randomized controlled trial comparing exercise and internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy to usual care for depression (November, 2015).

TV4 Sweden: I appeared on television to discuss the REGASSA project and how exercise can be used to treat depression (April, 2015).