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  • 1.
    Assarsson, Rebecka
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Petersen, Solveig
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Center for Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden.
    Johansson, Klara
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gender inequality and adolescent suicide ideation across Africa, Asia, the South Pacific and Latin America: a cross-sectional study based on the Global School Health Survey (GSHS)2019In: Global Health Action, ISSN 1654-9716, E-ISSN 1654-9880, Vol. 11, article id 1663619Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Suicide ideation is a health issue affecting adolescents worldwide. There are significant variations in suicide ideation between countries and genders, which have not been fully explained. Research is especially lacking in countries outside Europe and North America. Gender equality has been shown to matter in other aspects of adolescent mental health, such as life satisfaction, but has not been researched in relation to suicide ideation at national level.

    Objective: To investigate how national gender inequality is related to self-reported suicide ideation among adolescents, and whether this association differs between boys and girls.

    Methods: This is a cross-national, cross-sectional study using individual survey data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey, a survey in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the South Pacific, developed and supported by among others the WHO and the CDC; connecting this to national data: the gender inequality index from the UNDP; controlling for GDP per capita and secondary school enrolment. The data was analysed using a multilevel logistic regression method and included 149,306 students from 37 countries.

    Results: Higher national gender inequality, as measured by the gender inequality index, was significantly associated with a higher likelihood of suicide ideation in both girls and boys (odds ratio: 1.38 p-value: 0.015), but for girls and both sexes this was only after adjusting for selection bias due to secondary school enrolment (as well as GDP/capita). Interaction models showed that this association was stronger in boys than in girls.

    Conclusions: National gender inequality seems to be associated with higher levels of suicide ideation among adolescents in mainly low- and middle-income countries, especially among boys.

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  • 2. Athanasiades, Christina
    et al.
    Figgou, Lia
    Flouli, Anastasia
    Gebel, Michael
    Gousia, Katerina
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Kostouli, Marialena
    Nizalova, Olena
    Shapoval, Nataliia
    Sourvinou, Martina
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Täht, Kadri
    Unt, Marge
    Voßemer, Jonas
    Xanthopoulou, Despoina
    Report on the impact of the institutional setting and policies on the well-being and health of youth in insecure labour market positions in EU-28 and Ukraine2016Report (Refereed)
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  • 3.
    Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Effects of parental job loss on children’s mental health: the role of latency, timing and cumulative effects2023Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Crossover effects of critical life events within families have received growing attention in life-courseresearch. A parent losing a job is among the most distressing events that can befall a family, butexisting research has reached discrepant conclusions concerning if, and if so how, this affects childmental health. Drawing on insights from models of intra-family influence and life courseepidemiological models, we ask if parental job loss have latent or long-term effects on child mentalhealth, if the effects are conditional on the timing of the job loss, and if repeated job losses havecumulative effects.We use intergenerationally linked Swedish register data combined with entropy balance andstructural nested mean models for the analyses. The data allow us to track 400,000 children over 14years and thereby test different life-course models of crossover effects. We identify involuntary joblosses using information on workplace closures, thus reducing the risk of confounding.Results show that paternal but not maternal job loss significantly increases the risk of mental healthproblems among children, that the average effects are modest in size (less than 4% in relativeterms), that they materialize only after some years, and that they are driven by children aged 6-10years. Moreover, we find evidence of cumulative effects, but also of declining marginal harm ofadditional job losses over the life course.

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  • 4.
    Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Spillover effects of social policies: Can the state support for the unemployed affect employees’ health and wellbeing?2018Report (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Bernardi, Laura
    University of Lausanne.
    Parental unemployment and adolescent wellbeing: The moderating role of educational policies2021Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Crossover effects of parental unemployment on wellbeing of children attract growing attention in research on social inequalities. Recent economic crises call for identifying policies that mitigate the adverse effects of unemployment. Building on the theoretical insights from Capability Approach, we examine the relationship between parental unemployment and wellbeing of adolescents across countries with different educational policies. We use multilevel modelling and microdata on economic and subjective wellbeing of household members from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). We combine microdata on 45,992 adolescents in 32 countries with macro-level indicators of educational policies.

    We find that parental unemployment is associated with lower adolescent wellbeing, but the magnitude of this association varies depending on access to financial support for participation in education. Adolescents who receive educational allowances and who live in countries with broader access to such support are less harmed by parental unemployment.

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  • 6.
    Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Bernardi, Laura
    Institute of Social Sciences (ISS), University of Lausanne, Lausanne , Switzerland.
    Parental unemployment and adolescents' subjective wellbeing: the moderating role of educational policies2024In: European Sociological Review, ISSN 0266-7215, E-ISSN 1468-2672, Vol. 40, no 2, p. 276-292Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Crossover effects of parental unemployment on subjective wellbeing of children attract growing attention in research on social inequalities. Recent economic crises call for identifying policies that mitigate the adverse effects of unemployment. Building on the theoretical insights from Capability Approach, we examine the relationship between parental unemployment and subjective wellbeing of adolescents across countries with different educational policies. We use multilevel modelling and data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). We combine microdata on 45,992 adolescents in 32 countries with macro-level indicators of educational policies. We find that parental unemployment is associated with lower subjective wellbeing among adolescents, but the magnitude of this association varies depending on access to financial support for participation in education. Adolescents who receive educational allowances and who live in countries with broader access to such support are less harmed by parental unemployment.

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  • 7.
    Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Voßemer, Jonas
    Mannheim Centre for European Social Research, Germany.
    Do consequences of parental job displacement for infant health vary across local economic contexts?2024In: RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, ISSN 2377-8253, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 57-80Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examines the consequences of parental job displacement for birth outcomes and investigates how the effects vary with regional unemployment rates. We use Swedish register data and exploit plausibly exogenous variation caused by workplace closure to reduce the bias related to reverse causality and confounding. The differences in birth outcomes between children of parents who experienced job displacement and children of parents who were not displaced turn out to be quite modest. Even in the most disadvantaged regions, with the highest unemployment rates, parental job displacement is not harmful for health at birth. We relate these findings to the institutional setting in Sweden and discuss policy implications for the United States.

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  • 8.
    Cashman, Matthew R.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Does fear-of-failure mediate the relationship between educational expectations and stress-related complaints among Swedish adolescents?: A structural equation modelling approach2023In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 34, no 1, p. 101-106Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: This study investigated the possible mediating role of fear-of-failure between educational expectations and adolescent stress-related complaints with a specific focus on gender differences among Swedishadolescents, and related these findings more broadly to school-related demands and stress-related complaints.

    Methods: A total of N¼ 5504 Swedish adolescents (Mage¼ 15 years, SD ¼ 0.0 years, 50.2% girls) were drawn from the2018 Swedish Programme for International Student Assessment study for our investigation. We used structural equation models to explore if fear-of-failure mediates the relationship between educational expectations and negativeaffect, with a specific focus on gender differences. Educational expectations were utilized in the measurement model.Fear-of-failure was constructed as a latent mediating variable. Negative affect was constructed as a latent variableand utilized as an outcome variable. We subsequently undertook bootstrapping tests of indirect effects and nonlinear comparisons of indirect effects to assess the reliability of the results.

    Results: Fear-of-failure partially mediatedthe association between educational expectations and negative affect (39%). Our gender-specific structural equation model demonstrated that this relationship was more pronounced for girls, suggesting girls are more vulnerable to negative affect as a result of experiencing higher levels of fear of failing.

    Conclusions: The findingssuggest that fear-of-failure partially explains the association between educational expectations and negativeaffect and that this association is more pronounced for girls. This study provides insights into better understanding adolescent stress-related complaints, and the differential role fear of failing has in regards to gender.

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  • 9.
    Cashman, Matthew
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Have performance-based educational reforms increased adolescent school-pressure in Sweden?: A synthetic control approach2023In: International Journal of Educational Development, ISSN 0738-0593, E-ISSN 1873-4871, Vol. 103, article id 102922Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Increased levels of stress and other mental health problems have been reported among adolescents in high-income countries. In particular, rates of school pressure have increased significantly. Despite such increases, little is known about the underlying determinants of increased adolescent stress, making this an emerging public health concern. The educational stressors hypothesis contends that increased rates of stress result from pronounced performance pressures placed on adolescents resulting from educational policy initiatives which emphasize academic goal attainment. The present study tests this hypothesis using a synthetic control method and panel data techniques to analyze data from the Health Behavior in School-aged children (HBSC) survey, including more than 150,000 adolescents per survey wave in 25 European countries over 16 years, to assess if the Swedish Educational reforms implemented in the 2011–13 period were associated with increased self-reported school pressure. These reforms implemented increased summative assessments, new grading systems and increased eligibility criteria in accessing further education. Results demonstrate that following the reforms, Swedish adolescents experienced greater levels of school-pressure and led to a greater gender difference in experienced school-pressure where girls were relatively more affected. We conclude that, consistent with the educational stressors hypothesis, the educational reforms have likely contributed to increasing levels of school-pressure for Swedish adolescents.

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  • 10.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Academic performance, performance culture, and mental health: an exploration of non-linear relationships using Swedish PISA data2023In: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0031-3831, E-ISSN 1470-1170Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Higher academic performance is almost universally considered a good thing, and most quantitative studies show that performance is positively, although weakly, related to mental health. Simultaneously, however, qualitative studies consistently find that high-performing students and students attending high-performing schools report high levels of stress and other mental health problems. This study investigates a simple explanation for this puzzle – that the relationship between performance and mental health is not linear and is conditional on the performance culture of the school. Data on almost 5000 Swedish students from the Programme for International Student Assessment were used. The results show that the relationship between performance and mental health is generally not linear and that intermediate-performing boys have the best mental health, while both low- and high-performing girls and boys alike have poorer mental health. Although inconclusive, the results also suggest that low-performing students may be vulnerable to a strong school performance culture.

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  • 11.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Education systems and academic stress: a comparative perspective2024In: British Educational Research Journal, ISSN 0141-1926, E-ISSN 1469-3518, Vol. 50, no 3, p. 1002-1021Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Academic stress among adolescents can undermine academic achievement and harm mental health. Levels of academic stress vary considerably across countries and education systems, but little is known regarding the causes of this variation. In this paper, I develop a theoretical framework positing that stress will be lower in education systems that reduce the stakes attached to academic achievements, temper competition and high aspirations, and weaken the link between achievements and self-worth. I test observable implications of the framework by analysing if stress is influenced by the degree of external differentiation and vocational orientation of education systems, using harmonised survey data on pupils in more than 30 countries. The empirical analyses largely support the implications of the framework: pupils in more differentiated and vocationally orientated systems report significantly lower levels of stress, also in models adjusting for country fixed effects. Moreover, academic achievement is a less important predictor of stress in differentiated or vocational systems, possibly due to lower stakes attached to achievements. I end by proposing further predictions of the framework that can be tested in future research, and by discussing implications of the results with regard to possible trade-offs between different goals of education policy. 

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  • 12.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Educational policies and social inequality in well-being among young adults2019In: British Journal of Sociology of Education, ISSN 0142-5692, E-ISSN 1465-3346, Vol. 40, no 5, p. 664-681Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Inequalities in health and well-being are important contemporary public health issues. This article is the first to investigate the institutional causes of inequality in well-being among youth in a comparative perspective. Data from the European Social Survey are used to analyse how educational policies moderate the association between social background and well-being. Multilevel techniques are used to investigate cross-level interactions between social background and educational policies on life satisfaction. Four indicators of inclusive educational policies are analysed: age of tracking, costs of education, enrolment rates, and second-chance opportunities in the educational system. The results show that educational policies indeed moderate the association between social background and well-being: inequalities as measured by the father’s social class are smaller in countries where educational policies are more inclusive. Moreover, the analysis shows that the moderating impact of education policies is mediated by individual-level education, activity status, and income.

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  • 13.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Educational stressors and secular trends in school stress and mental health problems in adolescents2021In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 270, article id 113616Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Increasing mental health problems among adolescents have been have reported in several countries over the last decades. Yet, little is known regarding the societal changes underlying secular trends in adolescent mental health. The educational stressors hypothesis states that educational expansion and a shift to knowledge economies makes life chances of adolescents more dependent on their educational performance, thus generating more school stress and, in turn, mental health problems. The present study tests this hypothesis using multilevel analyses and panel data techniques to analyse data from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey, including more than 150,000 adolescents in 33 European countries over 12 years.

    Results show that economic change, as measured by changes in national gross domestic product, but not educational expansion, contributes to more school stress in adolescents. Both economic change and educational expansion makes school stress more consequential for mental health problems, such that the effect of stress on mental health problems becomes stronger as countries grow richer and more educated. I conclude that, consistent with the educational stressors hypothesis, economic change and educational expansion has likely contributed to increasing mental health problems in adolescents.

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  • 14.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Gender and health among older people: What is the role of social policies?2018In: International Journal of Social Welfare, ISSN 1369-6866, E-ISSN 1468-2397, Vol. 27, no 3, p. 236-247Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The study investigated how social policies moderate the association between gender and health among older people across European countries. The study is the first to take a comprehensive view on the role of social policies in connection with gender inequality in health among older Europeans. The association between gender and poor self-rated health and limiting long-standing illness was investigated in a multilevel framework. Cross-level interaction effects showed that more generous minimum pensions, higher spending on eldercare and a higher degree of eldercare formalisation are associated with relatively better health among women, while more generous standard pensions are associated with relatively better health among men. The conclusion is that policies directed towards older people are not gender neutral; rather they are likely to affect men and women differently. By shaping the distribution of resources as well as of unpaid work, social policies can contribute to either strengthening or weakening the link between gender and health.

  • 15.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR). Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Is there a trade-off between achievement and wellbeing in education systems?: new cross-country evidence2023In: Child Indicators Research, ISSN 1874-897X, E-ISSN 1874-8988, Vol. 16, no 5, p. 2165-2186Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Wellbeing has recently been given a more prominent place in education policy and discourse, with critics arguing that an overemphasis on achievement comes at the cost of well-being. This raises questions concerning possible trade-offs between the traditionally dominant focus on learning and achievement in education and the growing emphasis on well-being. Can education systems promote high achievements and wellbeing simultaneously, or is reduced wellbeing an inevitable price to pay for high academic achievements? In this study, I investigate possible trade-offs between country-level achievement and individual wellbeing using five waves of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) data, spanning over 18 years and including more than one million pupils in 45 countries. I find weak and inconsistent empirical support for a trade-off. While there is a modest negative relationship between country-level achievement and some indicators of well-being, this does not hold when adjusting for possible confounders or country-fixed effects. I also find no or weak evidence for heterogeneous effects depending on individual achievement. I conclude that concerns regarding possible trade-offs between achievement and wellbeing are not supported by cross-country comparative data. However, the predominantly null findings also imply that policymakers should not expect miracles in terms of wellbeing from high-achieving education systems. High achievements may be good from an academic perspective, but do not seem to make much of a difference from the perspective of wellbeing.

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  • 16.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Transitions from Unemployment to Education in Europe: The Role of Educational Policies2019In: Journal of Social Policy, ISSN 0047-2794, E-ISSN 1469-7823, Vol. 48, no 4, p. 699-720Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this study is to investigate cross-country variability in transition rates from unemployment to further education among young adults, as well as how barriers in educational systems affect these transition rates. Previous research on adult further education has largely neglected the role of policies, and has not taken unemployed people into account.

    Two dimensions of educational policies are investigated. (1) Barriers facing prospective students with regard to previous academic achievements (e.g. second chance opportunities); and (2) financial barriers (e.g. high costs). It is hypothesized that low barriers are associated with higher transition rates into education, especially for unemployed young adults with lower levels of education.

    The aim is approached by investigating how differences in transition rates across countries are linked to the design of educational policies. Cross-country standardised individual-level panel data from 29 European countries are taken from EU-SILC. Multilevel multinomial models are fitted.

    Results show that lower barriers in the education system are associated with higher probabilities that unemployed young adults leave unemployment to re-enter further education, although only partial support is found for the hypothesis that unemployed young adults with lower levels of education gain relatively more from low barriers. Low barriers are sometimes associated with lower transition rates into employment.

  • 17.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Vulnerability and inequalities in health and wellbeing: the role of social policy2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this thesis is to investigate the moderating role of social policies for the association between vulnerable social positions and health and wellbeing. Vulnerable social positions are identified in relation to age-related transition points in to or out of the labour market. Specifically, the focal groups are young adults, on the route to establish themselves in the labour market, and older persons, having just left the labour market, and inequalities by labour market status, class, or gender within these age groups. The thesis moreover aims to contribute to the theoretical development of the comparative health literature, by developing and implementing a theoretical framework for analyzing the role of social policy for the health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups.

    Data and methods: The aim is addressed through a cross-country comparative approach, by fitting multilevel regression models on harmonized individual level data from the European Social Survey. Specifically, cross-level interactions between social position and social policies are estimated, with self-reported general health and psychological wellbeing as outcomes. The focal social policies are pension systems and elderly care policies, as well as education policies.

    Results and conclusions: Overall, the empirical results showed that public investment in, and public organization of, elderly care was associated with smaller health inequalities by both social class and gender, and that redistributive minimum pensions were associated with smaller inequalities by social class, while more status-maintaining standard pensions were associated with larger gender-based inequalities. Regarding the role of education policies, the analyses showed that inclusive policies – specifically low degree of tracking, generous second chance opportunities, low out-of-pocket costs for, and a larger supply of, education – were associated with smaller inequalities by both social background and employment status. The overall conclusion of the thesis is that redistributive social policies, which distribute essential resources to vulnerable groups, have the potential to reduce inequalities in health and wellbeing between vulnerable and more advantaged groups.

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  • 18.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Effects of parental job loss on psychotropic drug use in children: long-term effects, timing, and cumulative exposure2024In: Advances in Life Course Research, ISSN 1569-4909, Vol. 60, article id 100607Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Intra-family crossover effects triggered by job losses have received growing attention across scientific disciplines, but existing research has reached discrepant conclusions concerning if, and if so how, parental job losses affect child mental health. Drawing on sociological models of stress and life course epidemiology, we ask if parental job losses have long-term effects on child mental health, and if these effects are conditional on the timing of, or the cumulative exposure to, job losses. We use intergenerationally linked Swedish register data combined with entropy balance and structural nested mean models for the analyses. The data allow us to track 400,000 children over 14 years and thereby test different life-course models of cross-over effects. We identify involuntary job losses using information on workplace closures, thus reducing the risk of confounding. Results show that paternal but not maternal job loss significantly increases the risk of psychotropic drug use among children, that the average effects are modest in size (less than 4% in relative terms), that they may persist for up to five years, and that they are driven by children aged 6–10 years. Moreover, cumulative exposure to multiple job losses are more harmful than zero or one job loss.

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  • 19.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Voßemer, Jonas
    Intergenerational effects of parental unemployment on infant health: evidence from Swedish register data2021Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Parental unemployment can have detrimental effects on life chances of the children, and thus reinforce inequalities across generations. Despite a substantial literature documenting that the health of infants at birth can have large and long-lasting consequences, research on intergenerational unemployment effects on infant health is scant. This study fills the gap using high-quality register data from Sweden, including 1.3 million siblings born between 1996 and 2017. To account for selection into unemployment, we employ sibling comparison designs that exploit variation in siblings’ exposure to parental unemployment, thereby accounting for stable but unmeasured confounding at the level of families.

    We find small, although statistically significant effects of maternal unemployment and no effects of paternal unemployment. Our results also suggest that pre-existing social disadvantage – low education, migration background, dual parent unemployment – are not associated with more adverse intergenerational unemployment effects. The discussion of our findings situates these results in the context of a relatively generous and egalitarian welfare state. 

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  • 20.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR). Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR). Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Voßemer, Jonas
    Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), Mannheim, Germany.
    Intergenerational effects of parental unemployment on infant health: evidence from Swedish register data2024In: European Sociological Review, ISSN 0266-7215, E-ISSN 1468-2672, Vol. 40, no 1, p. 41-54Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Parental unemployment can have detrimental effects on life chances of the children, and thereby reinforce inequalities across generations. Despite a substantial literature documenting that the health of infants at birth can have large and long-lasting consequences, research on intergenerational unemployment effects on infant health is scant. This study fills the gap using high-quality register data from Sweden, including 1.5 million siblings born between 1996 and 2017. To account for selection into unemployment, we employ sibling comparison designs that exploit variation in siblings’ exposure to parental unemployment, thereby accounting for stable but unmeasured confounding at the level of families. We find small and not consistently significant effects of maternal unemployment, and no effects of paternal unemployment. Our results also suggest that pre-existing social disadvantages - low education, migration background, and dual parental unemployment -are not associated with more adverse intergenerational unemployment effects. The discussion of our findings situates these results in the context of a relatively generous and egalitarian welfare state.

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  • 21.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Horn, Daniel
    Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Institute of Economics,Hungary; Corvinus University Budapest, Institute of Economics, Hungary.
    National high-stakes testing, gender, and school stress in Europe: a difference-in-differences analysis2022In: European Sociological Review, ISSN 0266-7215, E-ISSN 1468-2672, Vol. 38, no 6, p. 975-987Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this study, we ask if high-stakes testing affects school-related stress among students and if there are gender differences in these effects. Students’ results on high-stakes tests can have long-term consequences for their future educational trajectories and life chances. For girls, who tend to have higher educational aspirations and tend to gain more from higher education, the stakes involved may be even higher. The use of high-stakes testing has increased across Europe, but little is known about their consequences for stress or wellbeing. We combine macro-level data on high-stakes testing with survey data on more than 300,000 students aged 11–15 years in 31 European countries from three waves (2002, 2006, and 2010) of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study. With variation in high-stakes testing across countries, years, and grade levels, we use a quasi-experimental difference-in-differences design for the identification of causal effects. We find that high-stakes testing increases the risk of moving from low to high levels of self-reported school stress by 4 percentage points, or by 12 per cent relative to baseline values. This effect is somewhat larger for girls, though not significantly so. The results are robust to a range of sensitivity analyses.

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  • 22.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Lindgren, Joakim
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
    From a crisis of results to a crisis of wellbeing: education reform and the declining sense of school belonging in Sweden2023In: Comparative Education, ISSN 0305-0068, E-ISSN 1360-0486, Vol. 59, no 1, p. 18-37Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In response to declining results in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) surveys, the then governing Swedish coalition in 2010–2014 introduced earlier grading, more national testing and a new standards-based curriculum. These reforms coincided with a greater emphasis on inclusive’ education understood in the ‘narrow’ sense of placement in mainstream schools. The combination of these two sets of reforms presents an interesting national case where traditional conservative demands for a core curriculum, testing and accountability were combined with calls to increase educational opportunity.

    Using PISA data, we show that the reforms coincided with a decline in the sense of school belonging among pupils that was exceptional compared to other high-income countries, and especially among marginalised pupils. The study adds to previous studies on policy effects on wellbeing, concluding that the Swedish compulsory school went from undergoing a mediatised results crisis to a wellbeing crisis among pupils.

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  • 23.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Lindgren, Joakim
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
    Outcome-based accountability regimes in OECD countries: a global policy model?2021In: Comparative Education, ISSN 0305-0068, E-ISSN 1360-0486, Vol. 57, no 3, p. 301-321Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The global diffusion of outcome-based accountability in education is contested, with accounts of universal convergence being challenged by perspectives emphasising heterogeneity across different national or local contexts. This study uses data from PISA to explore, firstly, the spatial and temporal diffusion of accountability across OECD countries, and secondly, whether accountability is implemented as a single coherent regime. Using cluster analysis techniques, we find that most countries fall into a ‘Thick’ accountability regime, with widespread use of most forms of accountability tools. However, this regime is not fully coherent, with some countries relying more on horizontal, and others on vertical, forms of accountability. A sizeable minority of countries fall into a ‘Thin’ regime, in which most accountability tools are largely absent. We also find indications of convergence across countries over time. We conclude that while accountability in education is indeed widespread, and increasingly so, it is not a universally dominant regime.

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  • 24.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Lindgren, Joakim
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
    Johansson, Klara
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Petersen, Solveig
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Consequences of school grading systems on adolescent health: evidence from a Swedish school reform2021In: Journal of education policy, ISSN 0268-0939, E-ISSN 1464-5106, Vol. 36, no 1, p. 84-106Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Education reforms that entail increased emphasis on high-stakes testing, assessment and grading have spread across education systems in recent decades. Critics have argued that these policies could have consequences for stress, identity, self-esteem and the overall health of pupils. However, these potentially negative consequences have rarely been investigated in a systematic and rigorous way. In this study we use a major education reform in Sweden, which introduced grades and increased the use of testing for pupils in the 6th and 7th school year (aged 12 to 13 years), to study the consequences of grading and assessment for health outcomes. Using data from the Health Behaviours of School-Aged Children Survey, we find that the reform increased school-related stress and reduced the academic self-esteem of pupils in the 7th school year. This, in turn, had an indirect effect on psychosomatic symptoms and life satisfaction for these pupils. Moreover, the negative effects of the reform were generally stronger for girls, thereby widening the already troubling gender differences in health. We conclude that accountability reforms aimed at increased use of testing, assessment and grading can potentially have negative side effects on pupils’ health.

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  • 25.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Petersen, Solveig
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Johansson, Klara
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Determinants of Declining School Belonging 2000–2018: The Case of Sweden2021In: Social Indicators Research, ISSN 0303-8300, E-ISSN 1573-0921, Vol. 157, no 2, p. 783-802Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Students' sense of belonging at school has declined across the world in recent decades, and more so in Sweden than in almost any other high-income country. However, we do not know the characteristics or causes of these worldwide trends. Using data on Swedish students aged 15–16 years from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) between 2000 and 2018, we show that the decline in school belonging in Sweden was driven by a disproportionately large decline at the bottom part of the distribution, and was greatest for foreign-born students, students from disadvantaged social backgrounds, and for low-achieving students. The decline cannot be accounted for by changes in student demographics or observable characteristics related to the school environment. The decline did, however, coincide with a major education reform, characterized by an increased use of summative evaluation, and an overall stronger performance-orientation.

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  • 26.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Siira, Elin
    Umeå University.
    The Swedish case2018In: Labour market insecurity and social exclusion: qualitative comparative results in nine countries / [ed] Sonia Bertolini; Kiki Deliyanni-Kouimtzi; Magda Bolzoni; Chiara Ghislieri; Valentina Goglio; Simone Martino; Antonella Meo; Valentina Moiso; Rosy Musumeci; Roberta Ricucci; Paola Maria Torrioni; Christina Athanasiades; Lia Figgou; Anastasia Flouli; Marialena Kostouli; Martina-Nafsika Sourvinou, Tallinn: Tallinn University Press, 2018, p. 249-258Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 27.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Temporal trends and inequalities in school-related stress in three cohorts in compulsory school in Sweden2024In: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0031-3831, E-ISSN 1470-1170Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    School stress is widespread among students’ worldwide, impacting academic success and mental health. Most research focuses on average stress levels but lacks insights into temporal trends and inequalities. Using repeated longitudinal survey data on 33,000 students in Swedish compulsory school from the Evaluation Through Follow-up (ETF) study, we investigate temporal trends in stress across three cohorts of students (born 1992, 1998, and 2004), with a focus on inequalities by school year, sex, socio-economic status, migration background, school grades, and school difficulties. The results show that (1) stress increased more in year 6 than in year 9 in recent cohorts; (2) stress increased more for girls than for boys; and (3) low school grades and school difficulties have become stronger risk factors for stress. We discuss the findings in the context of recent educational reforms and broader societal trends concerning the role of education for young people’s prospects in life.

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  • 28.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Transitions from temporary employment to permanent employment among young adults: The role of labour law and education systems2019In: Journal of Sociology, ISSN 1440-7833, Vol. 55, no 4, p. 689-707Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Temporary work is common across Europe, especially among young people. Whether temporary employment is a transitory stage on the road to standard employment, and whether this varies depending on institutional contexts, is controversial. This article investigates variability in transition rates from temporary to permanent employment across Europe, and how this is related to employment protection legislation (EPL) and the vocational specificity of education systems. We utilize harmonized panel data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions, covering 18 European countries and including 34,088 temporary workers aged 18–30. The results show that stricter EPL is associated with lower rates of transitions to permanent employment, while partial deregulation, with strict EPL for permanent contracts but weaker EPL for temporary contracts, is associated with higher transition rates. Vocationally specific education systems have higher transition rates, on average. Moreover, the role of EPL is conditional on the degree of vocational specificity.

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  • 29.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Karlstad University, Sweden.
    Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Johansson Sevä, Ingemar
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Ageing, health inequalities and the welfare state: a multilevel analysis2018In: Journal of European Social Policy, ISSN 0958-9287, E-ISSN 1461-7269, Vol. 28, no 4, p. 311-325Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Comparative studies of health inequalities have largely neglected age and ageing aspects, while ageing research has often paid little attention to questions of social inequalities. This article investigates cross-country differences in gradients in self-rated health and limiting long-standing illness (LLSI) in middle-aged and in older people (aged 50–64 and 65–80 years) linked to social class, and degrees to which the social health gradients are associated with minimum pension levels and expenditure on elderly care. For these purposes, data from the European Social Survey (2002–2010) are analysed using multilevel regression techniques. We find significant cross-level interaction effects between class and welfare policies: higher expenditure on elderly care and particularly more generous minimum pensions are associated with smaller health inequalities in the older age group (65–80 years). It is concluded that welfare policies moderate the association between social class and health, highlighting the importance of welfare state efforts for older persons, who are strongly reliant on the welfare state and welfare state arrangements such as pensions and care policies.

  • 30.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Centre for Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Karlstad University, Sweden.
    Hagquist, Curt
    Gender and secular trends in adolescent mental health over 24 years – The role of school-related stress2020In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 250, article id 112890Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Increasing levels of psychosomatic symptoms, and other mental health problems, among adolescents, and especially among girls, have been reported across various countries. The “educational stressors hypothesis” states that this trend can be explained by an increasing amount of stressors in the school environment. This study tests this hypothesis, using repeated cross-sectional data, between the years 1993–2017, from the Health Behaviours of School-aged Children (HBSC) survey. Regression and decomposition techniques are used to investigate the role of school stress for trends in psychosomatic symptoms, and for gender differences in symptoms.

    Results show that the effects of school stress on psychosomatic symptoms have become stronger over time, but that they can only account for a small share of the overall increase in symptoms since 1993. However, school stress has increased more among girls than among boys, and it explains about half of the growth of the gender gap in symptoms. Thus, school stress accounts for a substantial portion of the increase in symptoms for girls, but only a minor share of the increase for boys. In sum, we found weak evidence for the educational stressors hypothesis in regard to the overall trend in symptoms, but strong evidence for it in explaining the growing gender gap.

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  • 31.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Johansson, Klara
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Petersen, Solveig
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Trends in adolescent psychosomatic complaints: a quantile regression analysis of Swedish HBSC data 1985–20172023In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 51, p. 619-624Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and aims: According to recent criticism, survey-based measures of adolescent psychosomatic complaints have poor content validity insofar as they conflate trivial with severe complaints. It is argued that this means that estimates of prevalence and trends in complaints may reflect trivial complaints that are not indicators of health problems. In this study, two observable implications of this criticism were investigated: (a) that self-reported psychosomatic complaints should have a bimodal distribution; and (b) that the increase in complaints over time should be of approximately equal size throughout the distribution of complaints.

    Methods: Three decades (1985/1986–2017/2018) of repeated cross-sectional data from the Swedish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey were used. Psychosomatic complaints were measured using the screening instrument Health Behaviour in School-aged Children symptom checklist. Histograms, bar charts and quantile regression models were used for the analysis.

    Results and conclusions: With regard to the first implication, the results showed that the distribution of complaints was not bimodal and that there were no clusters of respondents. This suggests that binary categorisations of students can be reductive and conceal important variations across students. With regard to the second implication, the results showed that the increase in complaints was greatest among students who report frequent and co-occurring complaints. This suggests that reports of increasing complaints in adolescents cannot be explained as being primarily due to a greater inclination to report trivial complaints. It is concluded that any conflation of trivial and more severe complaints in surveys of psychosomatic complaints is not reflected in population-based estimates.

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  • 32.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Petersen, Solveig
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Section of Medicine.
    Johansson, Klara
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Education system stratification and health complaints among school-aged children2019In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 220, p. 159-166Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research shows that the school environment is an important social determinant of health among children and adolescents. However, we know virtually nothing of the health consequences of national education systems and policies, for example the stratification of pupils by academic ability. This study aimed to investigate if education system stratification is related to self-reported psychological and somatic health complaints of pupils aged 11 to 15, and social inequalities in such health complaints.

    Survey data from the Health Behaviors of School-aged Children (HBSC) survey, covering 33 countries and more than 180 000 pupils in primary and lower secondary school, were used. Multilevel models showed that education system stratification was not associated with the average levels of health complaints of pupils, but cross-level interaction effects showed that stratification moderated the relationship between social background and health complaints, such that inequalities in health complaints were smaller in countries with more stratified systems. Moreover, this moderating effect was mediated by the school learning environmentand social relations in school. Specifically, social inequalities in school pressure, academic self-concept, school climate, and school satisfaction were smaller in more stratified education systems, which in turn accounted for smaller inequalities in health complaints in these countries.

  • 33.
    Högberg, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Vossemer, Jonas
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. University of Bamberg, Germany.
    Gebel, Michael
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Unemployment, well-being, and the moderating role of education policies: A multilevel study2019In: International Journal of Comparative Sociology, ISSN 0020-7152, E-ISSN 1745-2554, Vol. 60, no 4, p. 269-291Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article aims to investigate if education policies moderate the association between unemployment and well-being among young adults. Based on the capability approach, we argue that education policies mitigate the negative effects of unemployment by providing opportunities for education and thus ways to exit unemployment. Education policies can strengthen capabilities, enhance the control that individuals have over their situation, and thereby reduce the stress associated with unemployment. We estimated cross-level interactions between education policies and unemployment status using multilevel methods and data from the European Social Survey. Results showed that policies that increase educational opportunities—such as generous second chance opportunities—were associated with smaller negative effects of unemployment on well-being and that this moderating impact was stronger for young adults with low education. Further analyses show that education policies are also associated with perceived capabilities among unemployed, supporting the proposed mechanism.

  • 34.
    Johansson, Klara
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Petersen, Solveig
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Stevens, Gonneke W J M
    De Clercq, Bart
    Frasquilho, Diana
    Elgar, Frank
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    The interplay between national and parental unemployment in relation to adolescent life satisfaction in 27 countries: analyses of repeated cross-sectional school surveys2019In: BMC Public Health, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 19, article id 1555Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Previous research shows that parental unemployment is associated with low life satisfaction in adolescents. It is unclear whether this translates to an association between national unemployment and adolescent life satisfaction, and whether such a contextual association is entirely explained by parental unemployment, or if it changes as a function thereof. For adults, associations have been shown between unemployment and mental health, including that national unemployment can affect mental health and life satisfaction of both the employed and the unemployed, but to different degrees. The aim of this paper is to analyse how national unemployment levels are related to adolescent life satisfaction, across countries as well as over time within a country, and to what extent and in what ways such an association depends on whether the individual’s own parents are unemployed or not.

    Methods: Repeated cross-sectional data on adolescents’ (aged 11, 13 and 15 years, n = 386,402) life satisfaction and parental unemployment were collected in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey, in 27 countries and 74 country-years, across 2001/02, 2005/06 and 2009/10 survey cycles. We linked this data to national harmonised unemployment rates provided by OECD and tested their associations using multilevel linear regression, including interaction terms between national and parental unemployment.

    Results: Higher national unemployment rates were related to lower adolescent life satisfaction, cross-sectionally between countries but not over time within countries. The verified association was significant for adolescents with and without unemployed parents, but stronger so in adolescents with unemployed fathers or both parents unemployed. Having an unemployed father, mother och both parents was in itself related to lower life satisfaction.

    Conclusion: Living in a country with higher national unemployment seems to be related to lower adolescent life satisfaction, whether parents are unemployed or not, although stronger among adolescents where the father or both parents are unemployed. However, variation in unemployment over the years did not show an association with adolescent life satisfaction.

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  • 35.
    Strandh, Mattias
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Results from EU-SILC Longitudinal Analysis: The Relationship between Labour Law, Education Systems and the Transition Probability from Temporary Employment to Permanent Employment among Youth2017Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 36.
    Vossemer, Jonas
    et al.
    Department of Sociology, University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany.
    Gebel, Michael
    Department of Sociology, University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany.
    Täht, Kadri
    Institute of International Social Studies, Tallinn, Estonia.
    Unt, Marge
    Institute of International Social Studies, Tallinn, Estonia.
    Högberg, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    The effects of unemployment and insecure jobs on well-being and health: the moderating role of labor market policies2018In: Social Indicators Research, ISSN 0303-8300, E-ISSN 1573-0921, Vol. 138, no 3, p. 1229-1257Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Labor market insecurities have been growing in Europe and previous research has illustrated that unemployment and insecure jobs negatively affect individuals’ well-being and health. Although empirical evidence suggests that these effects vary substantially across different welfare states, we still know little about the moderating role of specific labor market policies. Taking a cross-national comparative perspective, this article investigates how passive and active labor market policies (PLMP, ALMP) as well as employment protection legislation (EPL) shape the experience of unemployment and insecure jobs. We complement micro data of round 1–6 (2002–2012) of the European Social Survey with time-varying macro indicators of PLMP, ALMP, and EPL. The data include about 89,000 individuals nested in 112 country-rounds and 26 countries respectively. We apply three-level random intercept models as well as pooled linear regression models including country fixed effects. The results show that labor market policies are important in shaping the experience of unemployment, but are less relevant for workers in insecure jobs. Specifically, higher unemployment benefit generosity buffers the negative effects of unemployment on well-being but not health. Moreover, we discuss different interpretations for the finding that higher ALMP expenditures are associated with more negative effects of unemployment on well-being and health. With respect to EPL it is found that in countries with high insider protection, deregulating the restrictions on the use of temporary employment increases the negative effects of unemployment on well-being and health.

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