SISU stands for "Post-Pandemic Vulnerability and Resilience: A bioecological approach towards youth well-being in Nordic schools and communities". The SISU consortium is a joint effort of four Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland – aimed at expanding our current understanding of vulnerabilities and resilience among youth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A smiling child with his fist raised surrounded by other children in the background - picture generated by AI (Wepik
Photo: AI (Wepik)

Its focus is on assessing outcomes following the pandemic to guide future interventions for the improved well-being of young individuals.

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What is SISU?

"Sisu" is a Finnish term that represents perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. It embodies the Nordic capacity for post-pandemic renewal. The SISU consortium aims to improve the well-being of young people by conducting high-quality research with diverse longitudinal and cross-sectional data from four Nordic countries. SISU's core belief is that the combination of multiple data sources, interdisciplinary knowledge, and cutting-edge statistical methods will yield innovative evidence. This evidence will inform future interventions to foster resilience in the face of adversity in communities, schools, families, and young people throughout the Nordic countries and beyond.

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Photo: AI (Wepik)

Our Impact

The prevalence of mental health problems in children and adolescents has been steadily increasing over the past few decades, posing a significant public health challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions have exacerbated this situation, giving rise to concerns about potential long-term consequences for young people. There is an immediate need for well-conducted post-pandemic studies to comprehensively grasp its lasting effects on the well-being of the younger generation. This research presents a valuable opportunity to gain new insights into youth mental health and establish a solid foundation for addressing future crises. This understanding is essential for building a sustainable society and safeguarding the well-being of future generations in Nordic countries and beyond.

Illustration of the bioecological network, SISU
The bioecological network, SISU

We hypothesize that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth differ based on the specific environmental circumstances and genetic factors. Child welfare is influenced by a complex interplay of environmental and genetic factors throughout stages of development. To understand this interaction across diverse settings, we rely on the bio-ecological framework. The pandemic’s impact extends across all levels of systems, from national policies and cultural values to schools, local communities, and a child’s immediate home environment and genetic predisposition. Therefore, a multidisciplinary research approach becomes essential. By identifying factors affecting post-pandemic outcomes at various framework levels, we hope to offer insights that inform policies, preventive measures, and health promotion strategies.

The Nordic Consortium

The SISU consortium brings together collaborators from renowned Nordic institutions. These are:
Sweden: Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsProject Owner
Norway: University of Oslo, Department of Psychology, Partner
Iceland: Reykjavik University, Partner
Finland: Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Partner

The SISU Team comprising researchers from the Nordic countries
The SISU Team

Meet the SISU Team

Our interdisciplinary team comprises researchers with expertise in child and adolescent well-being, developmental psychology, child and adolescent psychiatry, educational outcomes, and pandemic consequences. 

Core team members

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Agnieszka Butwicka

Principal Investigator for SISU consortium, SISU Team co-leader, Sweden

Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Division of Mental Health Services, R&D Department, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway

Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

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Zheng Chang

SISU Team co-leader, Sweden

Eivind Ystrøm

SISU Team leader, Norway

University of Oslo, Department of Psychology, Norway

Thorhildur Halldorsdottir

SISU Team leader, Iceland

Reykjavik University, Iceland

Jaana Suvisaari

SISU Team leader, Finland

Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland

Financed by

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