Social Epidemiology

Social Epidemiology comprises studies on how diseases and health related conditions vary across different groups in society and how interventions affect health in different groups. A large part of the research is based on longitudinal studies analysing the association between determinants early in life and later incidence of disease and health related conditions.

Research areas

The group is strongly involved in teaching at the candidate and masters levels in the Public Health curriculum, and provides commissioned courses for physician with education outside the EU. There is strong collaboration with the National Institute of Public Health and the National Board of Health and Welfare, as well as with several universities in Sweden and other countries. The group is responsible, with one editor and several managing editors, for the editorial office of the European Journal of Public Health.

Current research projects

Studies on Swedish conscripts

For a cohort of men who conscripted for military service in 1969-70 data is available on e.g. family and social background, results of psychometric and physical tests, responses to questionnaires on smoking, use of alcohol and drugs and other health related issues. The cohort has been followed in various registers and series of studies have been performed on risk factors in childhood and youth and later morbidity and mortality. The studies are mainly focusing on mental health and substance abuse, but also other research questions are being addressed.

The UGU project

In collaboration with Gothenburg University we have got access to nationwide data on school children with information on social and family conditions, type and orientation of school, school marks, and on samples of children test results and questionnaire data are available. Through linkage with health related data bases, we are able to analyze associations between cognitive function, school performance and other factors in childhood and later occurrence of mental disorders, substance abuse and disability pension.

Mental health in a global perspective

Through research collaboration with mainly Uganda and Vietnam, we have a series of projects aiming at analyzing the occurrence of mental disorders and alcohol use in low and middle income countries. In countries with a high HIV prevalence we are also interested in studying the association between HIV and mental health, an association that can go in different causal directions.

Burden of disease estimates and the influence of various risk factors

Using data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project the group has estimated the national burden of disease in Sweden and the importance of risk factors. Research has been made on the importance of social determinants as an additional risk factor, not previously included in the GBD list. Currently, new national and sub-national burden of disease estimates and the influence of risk factors are being performed in collaboration with Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle, USA, using the methods from the latest version of GBD 2010. In addition, we are estimating the burden with special focus on the contribution of alcohol, tobacco and drugs, an assignment commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, as part of a governmental ANDT (alcohol, drugs, doping and tobacco) strategy. Research questions related to burden of disease are health expenditure, comorbidity and the effect of intervention studies. 

Implementation of public health interventions

Collaboration is ongoing with the STAD project in Stockholm County and the National Institute of Public Health with the aim to analyze the implementation of public health measures in municipalities and which factors facilitate implementation. Activities that are analyzed are responsible alcohol serving (STAD) and methods for parental support. Studies on implementation of alcohol prevention methods in Swedish municipalities, school wide prevention programs and interventions to promote mental health among students in tertiary education are ongoing. The aim is to generate knowledge about factors that can speed the process from identification of evidence based methods to implementation in daily practice.

Doctoral theses

Doctoral theses defended for the last 5 years

Lovisa Sydén Socioeconomic differences in alcohol habits, alcohol-related disorders and mortality (2016)
Sara Sjölund Cognitive ability, alcohol use and alcohol-related harm (2015)
Edison Manrique-Garcia Cannabis, Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses: Longitudinal studies on Swedish conscripts (2014)
Göran Henriksson  Income Distribution and Health – The Role of Individual and Municipality Levels (2014)
Patric Lundberg Mental Disorder, Sexual Risk Behaviour, Sexual Violence and HIV in Uganda (2014)
Johan Svensson Alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm among young people: studies of recent experience in Sweden (2013)
Johanna Gripenberg Abdon Drug use at licensed premises: prevalence and prevention (2012)
Mats Hallgren Studies in youth alcohol consumption and prevention (2012)
Le Thi Hoan Child Health Problems and Use of Health Services in a Rural District in Vietnam (2011)
Noeline Nakasujja Cognitive Deficits and HIV Associated Psychotic Disorder in Uganda (2011)
Paul Bangirana Computerized Rehabilitation for Cognitive Deficits After Central Nervous System Malaria in Ugandan Children (2011)

Group members

Emilie AgardhProject coordinator
Peter AllebeckProfessor/senior physician
Victoria AnderssonAssociated
Sven AndréassonAdjunct professor
Anna AuerGraduate Student
Sven BrembergAssociated
Anna-Karin DanielssonAssistant professor
Daniel FalkstedtAssistant professor
Menghan GaoPhD student, Graduate Student
Hans GilljamAssociated
Karin GuldbrandssonAssociated
Mats HallgrenPostdoc
Asgeir R. HelgasonAdjunct senior lecturer
Zakir HossinPhD student, Graduate Student
Magnus JohanssonGraduate Student
Ilona KoupilVisiting professor
Stephen LawokoSenior lecturer
Sofia LöfvingStatistician
Tony NilssonGraduate Student
Rynaz RabieePhD student
Syed RahmanResearch assistant
Anna SidorchukAssociated
Inga Dora SigfusdottirVisiting professor
Kimmo SorjonenAssociated
Alma Sörberg WallinPostdoc
Sara Wallhed FinnGraduate Student
Peter WennbergAssociated
Therese WirbackLecturer

Contact us

Research group leader

Professor/senior physician

Peter Allebeck

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 801 72
Organizational unit: Social Medicin

Social Medicine