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About me

My main research interests are in intervention and implementation research, with social and family policy outcomes.

Historically, my research has focused on the Swedish child health field and the support (and lack of support) they provide to different types of parents, such as mothers and fathers who are either different-sex or same-sex oriented. In addition, I also discuss the barriers fathers face regarding Swedish family policies, especially parental leave. 

My current research projects have expanded to 1) finding ways to increase employment opportunities for school drop-outs (e.g. intervention research), and 2) to discuss wage-earnings differences between those with disabilities compared to those without disabilities (e.g. register and national survey research). 

Education

B.A. History, University of Indianapolis, USA

M.S. Human Development and Family Science, Ohio State University, USA

Ph.D. Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, Sweden

Research description

Current Research Projects

Evaluation of a counseling intervention aimed at promoting labor market integration and mental health amongst young school drop-outs. A randomized trial

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to analyze whether the counseling intervention increases young school drop-out’s ability to gain paid employment, help them to focus on further studies and improve their mental health.

Material and Method

After baseline assessment, school drop-outs will be randomized either to group counseling sessions (5 days) followed by weekly Internet-based sessions (5 weeks) or to a control group offered the usual advice at public employment offices. The primary outcome is paid employment, and all randomized individuals will be followed-up shortly after the intervention, and 12 and 24 months after baseline, by validated methods.

 

Evaluation of a new Father Visit to the Swedish Child Health Centers

Purpose

The aim of this study is to evaluate the implementation of a new father visit on a community level. Father outcomes, especially in relation to the support they require and receive, as well as their own mental health, the father-child relationship, their coparenting relationship, and the couples' relationship will be explored. 

The Program

Fathers are invited to the initial nurse-parent meeting (e.g. home visit), a four-week visit with their partner, and to a four month visit, where they are invited to come alone. At the four month visit, fathers are screened for distress, on top of being asked about any parenting issues. 

Material and Method 

Nurses will be asked to complete questionnaires at four time points: 1) baseline, where they will provide information on their thoughts on fathers; 2) training (1-2 months post training), where they will provide information on their training and initial implementation of these visits; 3) adherence (six months post-training) to the manual, as well as any strengths and barriers to implementation; and 4) further thoughts on fathers (12 months post-training). 

Fathers will complete a series of questionnaires at the four month visit, as well as twelve months post-birth. 

Publications:

Högberg, H., Pålsson, P., Wells, M.B., Larsson, M., & Spak, F. (2017). Barnmorskans samtal om alkohol i tidig graviditet med blivande mammor och pappor (Midwife's talk about alcohol in early pregnancy with prospective mothers and fathers). Socialmedicinsk tidskrift, 94(4), 406-414.

Kerstis, B., Wells, M.B., & Andersson, E. (In Press). Father group leaders’ experience of creating an arena for father support: A Qualitative Study. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences.      

Wells, M.B., Massoudi, P., & Bergström, M. (2017). Swedish child health nurses treat fathers more equally in 2014 than 2004, but mothers remain their primary focus, Acta Paediatrica, 106, 1302-1308.

Wells, M.B. (2017). Is All Support Equal?: Head Start Preschool Teachers’ Psychological Job Attitudes. Teaching and Teacher Education, 63, 103-115.

Wells, M.B. & Lang, S.N. (2016). Supporting Same-Sex Mothers in the Nordic Child Health Field: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-synthesis of the Most Gender Equal Countries. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 25, 3469-3483.

Wells, M.B. (2016). Literature review shows that fathers are still not receiving the support they want and need from Swedish child health professionals. Acta Paediatrica, 105(9), 1014-1023.

Wellander, L., Wells, M.B., & Feldman, I. (2016) Does prevention pay? Health and economic impact of preventive interventions for school children aimed to improve mental health. The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, 19, 91-102. 

Wells, M.B., Salari, R., & Sarkadi, A. (2016). Mothers’ and Fathers’ Attendance in a Community-Based Universally Offered Parenting Program in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 44, 274-280.

Wells, M.B. (2015). Predicting Preschool Teacher Retention and Turnover in Newly Hired Head Start Teachers Across the First Half of the School Year. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 30, 152-159.

Wells, M.B., Engman, J., & Sarkadi, A. (2015). Gender equality in Swedish child health centers: An analysis of their physical environments and parental behaviours. Semiotica: Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, 204, 1-20.

Salari, R., Wells, M.B., & Sarkadi, A. (2014). Child behaviour problems, parenting behaviours and parental adjustment in mothers and fathers in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 42, 547-553.

Wells, M.B., Varga, G., Kerstis, B., & Sarkadi, A. (2013). Swedish child health nurses' views views of early father involvement: A qualitative study. Acta Paediatrica, 102(7), 755-761.

Rahmqvist, J., Wells, M.B., & Sarkadi, A. (2014). Conscious parenting: A qualitative study on Swedish parents’ motives to participate in a parenting program. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23(5), 934-944.

Wells, M.B. & Sarkadi, A. (2012). Do father-friendly policies promote father-friendly child-rearing practices? Reviewing Swedish Parental Leave and Child Health Centers. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(1), 25-31.

Stenhammer, C., Wells, M.B., Åhman, A., Wettergren, B., Edlund, B. & Sarkadi, A. (2012). “Children are exposed to temptation all the time” – parents’ lifestyle-related discussions in focus groups. Acta Paediactrica, 101(2), 208-2015.

PhD Dissertation Title:

An Unequal Chance to Parent: Examples on Support Fathers Receive from the Swedish Child Health Field

Masters Thesis Title: 

Father-child Play: A Longitudinal Study on Fathers' Parenting and Cognitive Development and Academic Achievement Across the Transition to School

Supervision

Co-Supervision

Medical Student:

Björn Edgren, Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University

Masters Students:

  • Saga Fogelström and Anna Björsson (2017). 15 hp. Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institute. Tänk om hon dör och jag blir ensam kvar: En intervjustudie över blivande pappors förlossningsrädsla (What if she dies and leaves me all alone: An interview based study of fathers’ fear of childbirth).
  • Michaela Modin Asper and Nino Hallén (2017). 30 hp. Department of Public Health, Karolinska Institute. Postpartum depression screening for fathers: A cost-benefit analysis in Stockholm Sweden.

  • Sofia Kittmark and Matias Garzon (2017). 15 hp. Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institute. Same-sex mothers’ views of the Swedish child health centers: A qualitative study. 

Teaching portfolio

10-12/17                     Guest Lecturer, Applied Epidemiology 3- Methods for outcome evaluation of Public Health interventions (Public Health). I provided several lectures on outcome evaluations, as well as mentored masters students on their final exam.

10/17                          Guest Lecturer, Brain Development (Psychology), DIS

Study Abroad in Scandinavia (1.5 hour lecture). I provided a talk about the brain changes that occur in new parents and how Swedish family policies help new parents bond with their child.

09/17                          Guest Lecturer, Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska

Institute (3 hours). Sexual and Reproductive Health I (Women’s and Children’s Health). I provided a three-hour lecture on the importance of involving fathers in the child health field to 40 masters students in midwifery.

03/17                          Guest Lecturer, Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska

Institute (3 hours). Sexual and Reproductive Health I (Women’s and Children’s Health). I provided a three-hour lecture on the importance of involving fathers in the child health field to 40 masters students in midwifery.

03/17                          Guest Lecturer, Brain Development (Psychology), DIS

Study Abroad in Scandinavia (1.5 hour lecture). I provided a talk about the brain changes that occur in new parents and how Swedish family policies help new parents bond with their child.

10/16                          Guest Lecturer, Karolinska Institute (1 hour lecture). How to

Conduct Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (Department of Public Health). I provided a one-hour lecture on how to conduct a meta-ethnographic analysis.

09/16                          Guest Lecturer, Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska

Institute (3 hours lecture). Sexual and Reproductive Health I (Women’s and Children’s Health). I provided a three-hour lecture on the importance of involving fathers in the child health field to 40 masters students in midwifery.

01/2009-05/2012 Adjunct Professor, University of Indianapolis (216 classroom teaching hours): The Family: A Global Perspective (Sociology 310). Instructed a course for 20-30 undergraduates on various topics related families across cultures (I taught the course four times over four years: classes met for three hours once a week for 18 weeks).

 

09/07-06/08  Teacher’s Assistant at The Ohio State University  (180 classroom teaching hours)

Introduction to Child Development – undergraduate course that teaches college students how infants, toddlers, and children develop (I helped teach the course that met for three hours a week for 10 weeks per term; this course was taught three terms per academic year)
Parenting – undergraduate/graduate course that teaches college students about parenting (I helped teach the course that met for three hours a week for 10 weeks per term; this course was taught three terms per academic year)

 

09/06-06/07  Teacher’s Assistant at The Ohio State University (180 classroom teaching hours)

Guidance of Young Children – undergraduate course that teaches college students how to guide and discipline children aged 3-12 (I helped teach the course that met for three hours a week for 10 weeks per term; this course was taught three terms per academic year)
Constructing a Curriculum Model for Young Children – undergraduate course that teaches college students how to construct a curriculum for preschool and elementary school classrooms (I helped teach the course that met for three hours a week for 10 weeks per term; this course was taught three terms per academic year)

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Grants (Main Applicant)

  • 500,000 SEK from Stockholm Läns Landsting (2016): "Utvärdering av implementeringen av ett särskilt pappabesök vid barnhälsovården i Stockholms län" (Evaluation of the implementation of a special father visit at the child health centers in Stockholm County)
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Map

Presentations

Invited Talks

Wells, M.B. (2017, May). Supporting fathers in the Swedish child health field. Skåne Region BHV Units. Malmö, Sweden.

Wells, M. (2016, April). The Dad Effect. Intercultural Forum: Dads. The American Club of Sweden in Stockholm, Sweden.

Wells, M. (2015, Oct). Swedish Gender Equality Is Not Yet Achieved: Policy Barriers to Father Involvement in Childcare. Stockholm University Demography Unit and the Linnaeus Center on Social Policy and Family Dynamics in Europe, University of Stockholm, Sweden.

Wells, M.B. (2015, March). Father Involvement is Important: Ways to Decrease Paternal Barriers. 6th Annual Conference: Focus on Fatherhood in Rinkeby-Kista, Sweden. 

Wells, M.B. (2014, Oct.). Advocating for Father Involvement in Swedish Child Health Care. Barnhälsovård Nationell Konferens (National Child Health Conference) in Umeå, Sweden. 

Wells, M.B. (2013, Oct.). Fathers in the Swedish Healthcare System: Are They Treated Equally? Barnklinikens fredagsmöten (Children’s Clinic Friday Meetings) in Uppsala, Sweden. 

Wells, M.B. (2013, May). Almost a Parent: The Treatment of Fathers in Sweden and Internationally. Välkommen till våra Vårluncher: Socialpediatriska forskargruppen (Welcome to our Spring Lunches: Social Pediatrics Research Team) in Uppsala, Sweden.