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  • 1. Allansson Kjölhede, Elin
    et al.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Gustafsson, P. A.
    Nelson, N.
    Overweight and obese children have lower cortisol levels than normal weight children2014In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 103, no 3, p. 295-299Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    AIM: The stress hormone cortisol is vital to survival, and a disturbed circadian rhythm can be deleterious to health. However, little is known about cortisol levels in healthy children. The aim of this study was to examine cortisol levels in relation to body mass index (BMI), age and sex. METHODS: Salivary samples were collected in early morning, late morning and evening, on four consecutive days, from 342 children aged 6-12years using Salivette((R)) tubes. Samples were analysed using a commercial enzyme immunoassay (EIA). School nurses measured the children's height and weight, and these measurements were used to calculate their BMI. RESULTS: The children displayed a circadian rhythm in cortisol secretion, with morning zeniths and evening nadirs. Average cortisol levels in early morning, late morning and evening were significantly lower in overweight and obese children than in their normal weight counterparts. Cortisol levels did not vary significantly with age or sex. CONCLUSION: Our findings may suggest cortisol suppression in overweight and obese children. We found no evidence that sex or age influences cortisol levels. These findings highlight the need for further research on the relationship between stress and obesity in children.

  • 2.
    Amroussia, Nada
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Mosquera, Paola A.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Explaining mental health inequalities in Northern Sweden: a decomposition analysis2017In: Global Health Action, ISSN 1654-9716, E-ISSN 1654-9880, Vol. 10, article id 1305814Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: There has been a substantial increase of income inequalities in Sweden over the last 20 years, which also could be reflected in health inequalities, including mental health inequalities. Despite the growing body of literature focusing on health inequalities in Sweden, income-related inequalities in mental health have received little attention. Particularly scarce are research from Northern Sweden and examinations of the social determinants of health inequalities.

    Objectives: The present study seeks to provide evidence regarding inequalities in mental health in Northern Sweden. The specific aims were to (1) quantify the income-related inequality in mental health in Northern Sweden, and (2) determine the contribution of social determinants to the inequality.

    Methods: The study population comprised 25,646 participants of the 2014 Health on Equal Terms survey in the four northernmost counties of Sweden, aged 16 to 84 years old. Income-related inequalities in mental health were quantified by the concentration index and further decomposed by applying Wagstaff-type decomposition analysis.

    Results: The overall concentration index of mental health in Northern Sweden was −0.15 (95% CI: −0.17 to −0.13), indicating income inequalities in mental health disfavoring the less affluent population. The decomposition analysis results revealed that socio-economic conditions, including employment status (31%), income (22.6%), and cash margin (14%), made the largest contribution to the pro-rich inequalities in mental health. The second-largest contribution came from demographic factors, mainly age (11.3%) and gender (6%). Psychosocial factors were of smaller importance, with perceived discrimination (8%) and emotional support (3.4%) making moderate contributions to the health inequalities. 

    Conclusions: The present study demonstrates substantial income-related mental health inequalities in Northern Sweden, and provides insights into their underpinnings. These findings suggest that addressing the root causes is essential for promoting mental health equity in this region.

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  • 3.
    Amroussia, Nada
    et al.
    Division of Social and Behavioral Health, University of Nevada, Reno, USA..
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Pearson, Jennifer L.
    Division of Social and Behavioral Health/Health Administration and Policy, University of Nevada, Reno, USA..
    Do inequalities add up?: Intersectional inequalities in smoking by sexual orientation and education among U.S. adults2020In: Preventive Medicine Reports, E-ISSN 2211-3355, Vol. 17, article id 101032Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Introduction: Inequalities in smoking by socio-economic status (SES) are well-known. A growing body of literature has demonstrated additional inequalities in smoking by sexual orientation. This study used an intersectional lens to examine smoking at the intersection of sexual orientation and education.

    Methods: Data come from 28,362 adult participants in Wave 2 (2014–2015) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. We used educational level (less than high school education (HS); HS or more) and sexual orientation (heterosexual; sexual minority) to form four intersectional positions.

    We estimated prevalence differences in smoking corresponding to joint, referent, and excess intersectional inequalities using weighted linear binomial regression models. Results were stratified by gender and adjusted for ethnicity and age.

    Results: The adjusted joint inequality represented 7.6% points (p.p.) (95% CI: 2.5, 12.8) difference in smoking between the doubly advantaged (heterosexual with HS or more) and doubly disadvantaged (sexual minority with less than HS) positions. Joint inequality was decomposed into referent SES inequality (12.5 p.p. (95% CI: 10.5, 14.4)); referent sexual orientation inequality (9.7 p.p. (95% CI: 6.8, 12.6)); and a substantial negative excess intersectional inequality (−14.6 p.p. (95% CI: −20.8, −8.3)), attributed to an unexpectedly low prevalence of smoking among doubly disadvantaged persons. Similar overall patterns were found in the stratified analyses.

    Conclusions: We found that “doubly-disadvantaged” group of low-educated sexual minority adults did not have the greatest burden of smoking; whereas, low-educated heterosexual adults had the highest smoking prevalence. Our findings support tailoring cessation interventions to disadvantaged groups’ different needs.

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  • 4. Amroussia, Nada
    et al.
    Pearson, Jennifer L.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    What drives us apart?: Decomposing intersectional inequalities in cigarette smoking by education and sexual orientation among U.S. adults2019In: International Journal for Equity in Health, E-ISSN 1475-9276, Vol. 18, article id 109Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Socio-economic and sexual orientation inequalities in cigarette smoking are well-documented; however, there is a lack of research examining the social processes driving these complex inequalities. Using an intersectional framework, the current study examines key processes contributing to inequalities in smoking between four intersectional groups by education and sexual orientation.

    Methods: The sample (28,362 adults) was obtained from Wave 2 (2014–2015) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. Four intersectional positions were created by education (high- and low-education) and sexual orientation (heterosexual or lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer/questioning (LGBQ). The joint inequality, the referent socio-economic inequality, and the referent sexual orientation inequality in smoking were decomposed by demographic, material, tobacco marketing-related, and psychosocial factors using non-linear Oaxaca decomposition.

    Results: Material conditions made the largest contribution to the joint inequality (9.8 percentage points (p.p.), 140.9%), referent socio-economic inequality (10.01 p.p., 128.4%), and referent sexual orientation inequality (4.91 p.p., 59.8%), driven by annual household income. Psychosocial factors made the second largest contributions to the joint inequality (2.12 p.p., 30.3%), referent socio-economic inequality (2.23 p.p., 28.9%), and referent sexual orientation inequality (1.68 p.p., 20.5%). Referent sexual orientation inequality was also explained by marital status (20.3%) and targeted tobacco marketing (11.3%).

    Conclusion: The study highlights the pervasive role of material conditions in inequalities in cigarette smoking across multiple dimensions of advantage and disadvantage. This points to the importance of addressing material disadvantage to reduce combined socioeconomic and sexual orientation inequalities in cigarette smoking.

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  • 5.
    Anticona Huaynate, Cynthia
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Odontology.
    Lif Holgerson, Pernilla
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Odontology.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Assessing inequities in unmet oral care needs among adults in Sweden: An intersectional approach2023In: Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, ISSN 0301-5661, E-ISSN 1600-0528, Vol. 51, no 3, p. 428-435Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objectives: The goal of the Swedish oral healthcare system is to achieve good oral health and equitable access to care for the entire population. However, considerable inequities in oral health and care are evident and occur across a range of social dimensions. This study uses an intersectional approach to examine complex inequities in unmet oral care needs among adults in Sweden over the period 2004–2021.

    Methods: Data were obtained from 14 Health on Equal Terms surveys conducted during 2004–2021. The final sample was 129 473 individuals aged 26–84 years. Applying intersectional analysis of individual heterogeneity and discriminatory accuracy, inequities in unmet oral care needs were estimated across 48 intersectional strata defined by gender, age, educational level, individual disposable income and immigrant status.

    Results: A high risk of unmet oral care needs was found among strata consisting of immigrants and those with low income. However, being an immigrant and/or having a low income did not universally entail a high risk but varied by the social position along other axes, particularly age and education. The discriminatory accuracy was moderate.

    Conclusion: Groups with certain social disadvantages are highly heterogeneous themselves. An intersectionality approach is important to prevent the risk of stigmatizing large heterogenous groups while failing to identify the most vulnerable strata. The discriminatory accuracy analysis suggested that further policy and/or interventions may be the most effective if approaching the whole population, combined with selected targeted interventions directed at the most disadvantaged social strata.

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  • 6.
    Anticona Huaynate, Cynthia
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Odontology.
    Suominen, Anna Liisa
    Institute of Dentistry, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland; Oral and Maxillofacial Teaching Unit, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.
    Lif Holgerson, Pernilla
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Odontology.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Impact of an oral care subsidization reform on intersectional inequities in self-rated oral health in Sweden2024In: International Journal for Equity in Health, E-ISSN 1475-9276, Vol. 23, no 1, article id 63Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Oral health in Sweden is good at the population level, but seemingly with persisting or increasing inequities over the last decades. In 2008, a major Swedish reform introduced universal partial subsidies to promote preventive care and reduce the treatment cost for patients with extensive care needs. This study aimed to apply an intersectional approach to assess the impact of the 2008 subsidization reform on inequities in self-rated oral health among adults in Sweden over the period 2004–2018.

    Methods: Data from 14 national surveys conducted over 2004–2018 were divided into three study periods: pre-reform (2004–2007), early post-reform (2008–2012) and late post-reform (2013–2018). The final study population was 118,650 individuals aged 24–84 years. Inequities in self-rated oral health were examined by intersectional analysis of individual heterogeneity and discriminatory accuracy across 48 intersectional strata defined by gender, age, educational level, income, and immigrant status.

    Results: Overall, the prevalence of poor self-rated oral health decreased gradually after the reform. Gender-, education- and income-related inequities increased after the reform, but no discernible change was seen for age- or immigration-related inequities. The majority of intersectional strata experienced patterns of persistently or delayed increased inequities following the reform.

    Conclusions: Increased inequities in self-rated oral health were found in most intersectional strata following the reform, despite the seemingly positive oral health trends at the population level. Applying an intersectional approach might be particularly relevant for welfare states with overall good oral health outcomes but unsuccessful efforts to reduce inequities.

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  • 7.
    Bohlin, Anna
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Ahlgren, Christina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Perceived gender inequality in the couple relationship and musculoskeletal pain in middle-aged women and men2013In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 41, no 8, p. 825-831Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aims: Musculoskeletal pain is a major health problem, especially in women, and is partially determined by psychosocial factors. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether gender inequality in the couple relationship was related to musculoskeletal pain. Methods: Participants (n=721; 364 women and 357 men) were all individuals living in a couple relationship in the Northern Swedish Cohort, a 26-year Swedish cohort study. Self-administered questionnaire data at age 42 years comprised perceived gender inequality in the couple relationship and musculoskeletal pain (in three locations, summarised into one score and median-split), concurrent demographic factors, psychological distress, and previous musculoskeletal pain at age 30 years. Associations were examined using logistic regression. Results: Gender inequality was positively associated with symptoms of musculoskeletal pain in the total sample, remaining significant after addition of possible confounders and of previous musculoskeletal pain. Separate adjustment for concurrent psychological distress attenuated the association but not below significance. The association was present and of comparable strength in both women and men. Conclusions: Gender inequality in the couple relationship might contribute to the experience of musculoskeletal pain in both women and men. The results highlight the potential adverse bodily consequences of living in unequal relationships.

  • 8.
    Boldis, Beáta Vivien
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Unsafe and unequal: a decomposition analysis of income inequalities in fear of crime in northern Sweden2018In: International Journal for Equity in Health, E-ISSN 1475-9276, Vol. 17, article id 110Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BACKGROUND: Fear of crime is not solely an individual concern, but as a social determinant of health structured by gender it also poses a threat to public health. Social inequalities are thought to represent a breeding ground for fear of crime, which subsequently may contribute to social inequalities in health. However, little research has focused on social inequalities in fear of crime, particularly in Sweden where the level of fear of crime and income and gender inequalities are comparatively low. With a conceptual model as a point of departure, the present study aimed to estimate and decompose income-related inequalities and explore gender differences in fear of crime in northern Sweden.

    METHODS: Participants (N = 22,140; 10,220 men and 11,920 women aged 16 to 84 years) came from the Health on Equal Terms cross-sectional survey with linked register data, carried out in the four northernmost counties of Sweden in 2014. Disposable income was used as the socio-economic indicator, fear of crime as the binary outcome variable, and sociodemographic characteristics, residential context, socio-economic and material conditions and psychosocial conditions as explanatory factors. Concentration curve and concentration index were used to estimate the income inequality in fear of crime, and decomposition analysis to identify the key determinants of the inequalities, in collapsed and gender-stratified analyses.

    RESULTS: Substantial gender differences were found in the prevalence of fear of crime (20.8% in women and 3.5% and men) and among the contributing factors to fear of crime. Additionally, the analyses revealed considerable income inequalities in fear of crime in the northern Swedish context (C = - 0.219). Gender, socio-economic and material, and psychosocial conditions explained the most in income inequalities of fear of crime in the total population.

    CONCLUSIONS: The existing gender and socio-economic inequities need to be approached as a greater structural problem to mitigate inequalities in fear of crime. Further research is needed to reveal more aspects of income inequalities in fear of crime and to develop efforts to create safe environments for all.

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  • 9.
    Brattlöf, Frida
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Prevalence and change in social inequalities in physical activity before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden2023In: International Journal for Equity in Health, E-ISSN 1475-9276, Vol. 22, no 1, article id 21Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Physical activity is crucial for our wellbeing. Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, physical activity behaviour has changed globally, and social inequalities that already exist in physical activity have increased. However, there is limited knowledge of how these inequalities have evolved in Sweden. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of physical activity, and the socioeconomic inequalities in physical activity before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Methods: This study analysed data from the national ‘Health on Equal Terms’ survey which was conducted on participants between 16 and 84, through a repeated cross-sectional design in 2018 (pre-pandemic) and 2021 (during the pandemic). The socioeconomic variables included gender, age, education, occupation, income, and place of birth. For both years, the prevalence of low physical activity, the absolute risk differences, the slope index of inequality, and the slope index difference for each of the variables were calculated.

    Results: The level of physical activity increased for the total population studied. However, the social inequalities that existed in 2018 increased over time and across age, education, occupation, income, and place of birth, but not with regard to gender.

    Conclusions: Even though the Swedish population increased their levels of physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the social inequalities that already existed in physical activity increased. Interventions to increase the level of physical activity among the young, people with low socioeconomic status, and those born outside Sweden are needed to reduce these social inequalities, and to improve the Swedish population’s wellbeing.

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  • 10.
    Brydsten, Anna
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Does contextual unemployment matter for health status across the life course? A longitudinal multilevel study exploring the link between neighbourhood unemployment and functional somatic symptoms2017In: Health and Place, ISSN 1353-8292, E-ISSN 1873-2054, Vol. 43, p. 113-120Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examines whether neighbourhood unemployment is related to functional somatic symptoms, independently of the individual employment, across the life course and at four specific life course periods (age 16, 21, 30 and 42). Self-reported questioner data was used from a 26-year prospective Swedish cohort (n=1010) with complementary neighbourhood register data. A longitudinal and a set of age-specific cross-sectional hierarchal linear regressions was carried out. The results suggest that living in a neighbourhood with high unemployment has implications for residents' level of functional somatic symptoms, regardless of their own unemployment across time, particularly at age 30.

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  • 11.
    Brydsten, Anna
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gustafsson, Per
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Does contextual unemployment matter for health status across the life course?2016In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 26, no Suppl 1, p. 142-142Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Individual health is affected by one’s individual life conditionsand by the context in which individuals live, interact anddevelop. Research shows that living in a neighbourhood withhigh levels of unemployment might affect residents’ health, atleast partially independent of own labour market status.However, how such contextual-individual transactions playout across the life course is unknown. The present study aims:(i) to examine whether neighbourhood unemployment isrelated to health status across the life course independently ofthe individual employment from adolescence to middle age(age 16 to 42); and (ii) to analyse whether this relationship isobservable at four specific life course periods from adolescenceto middle age (age 16, 21, 30 and 42).

    Methods: A 26-year prospective Swedish cohort (n = 1010), linked toregister data on neighbourhood unemployment. Individualemployment and functional somatic symptoms were measuredby self-reported questionnaire data. Two models of hierarchallinear regressions were built: a longitudinal analysis, and a setof age-specific cross-sectional analyses at each age.

    Results: The longitudinal analysis showed an independent contributionof neighbourhood unemployment and individual employmenton FSS across the life course. The cross-sectional analysisshowed an association at age 30, when accounting forindividual employment, but no association was found at age21 and 42.

    Conclusions: Neighbourhood unemployment has a significant relationshipwith functional somatic symptoms across the life course. Thereseems to be an age-specific pattern where neighbourhoodunemployment may have stronger implications in earlyadulthood than in other phases of the life course

    Key messages:

    • High neighbourhood unemployment predicts higher levelsof individual FSS across the life course, independently ofown labour market position, socioeconomic status andeducation
    • These findings stress the importance of neighbourhoodunemployment for current health status as well as development of health status across the life course, particular duringearly adulthood
  • 12.
    Byhamre, Marja Lisa
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Jansson, Jan-Håkan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Medicine.
    Wennberg, Maria
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Nutritional Research.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Wennberg, Patrik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Snus use during the life-course and risk of the metabolic syndrome and its components2017In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 45, no 8, p. 733-740Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objective: We aimed to investigate the association between life-course exposure to snus and prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and its components in adulthood.

    Design and method: Tobacco habits at baseline (age 16) and three follow-ups (ages 21, 30 and 43) were assessed among 880 participants in a population-based cohort in Northern Sweden. Presence of the metabolic syndrome at age 43 was ascertained using the International Diabetes Federation criteria. Odds ratios and CIs for risk of the metabolic syndrome and its components by snus use at 16, 21, 30 and 43 years were calculated using logistic regression. Cumulative snus use was defined as number of life periods (1-4) with current snus use.

    Results: At age 43, 164 participants (18.6%) were current snus users. We found no association between exclusive snus use at the ages of 16, 21, 30 and 43 years and the metabolic syndrome at age 43 years. Snus use (among non-smokers) was associated with raised triglycerides and high blood pressure in crude analysis, but not in multivariable models. There was no association between cumulative snus use and risk of the metabolic syndrome. Cumulative snus use was associated with central obesity, raised triglycerides and impaired fasting glucose/diabetes mellitus type 2 in crude analyses, but not after adjustments.

    Conclusion: The health consequences of snus exposure from adolescence to mid-adulthood do not seem to include increased risk of the metabolic syndrome or its components. The cardio-metabolic risk of dual exposure to snus and cigarettes may warrant further attention.

  • 13.
    Cordoba-Dona, Juan Antonio
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. 1Delegación Territorial de Igualdad, Salud y Políticas Sociales de Andalucía.
    Escolar-Pujolar, Antonio
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Social medicine.
    How are the employed and unemployed affected by the economic crisis in Spain?: Educational inequalities, life conditions and mental health in a context of high unemployment2016In: BMC Public Health, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 16, article id 267Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Despite an increasing number of studies on the factors mediating the impact of the economic recession on mental health, research beyond the individual employment status is scarce. Our objectives were to investigate in which ways the mental health of employed and unemployed populations is differently affected by the current economic recession along the educational scale and to examine whether financial strain and social support explain these effects of the crisis. Methods: A repeated cross-sectional study, using two waves of the Andalusian Health Survey in 2007 (pre-crisis) and 2011-2012 (crisis). A population aged between 19 and 64 years was selected. The dependent variable was the Mental Component Summary of the SF-12 questionnaire. We performed Poisson regression models stratified by working status, with period, educational level, financial strain and social support as independent variables. We examined interactions between period and educational level. Age, sex, main earner, cohabitation and partner's working status were considered as covariates. Results: The study included 3210 individuals (1185 women) in 2007 and 3633 individuals (1486 women) in 2011-2012. In working individuals the prevalence of poor mental health increased for secondary and complete primary studies groups during crisis compared to the pre-crisis period, while it decreased significantly in the university study group (PR = 0.76, 95 % CI: 0.58-0.99). However, in unemployed individuals prevalence ratios for poor mental health increased significantly only in the secondary studies group (PR = 1.73, 95 % CI: 1.06-2.83). Financial strain and social support yielded consistent associations with mental health in all subgroups. Only financial strain could partly explain the crisis effect on mental health among the unemployed. Conclusions: Our study supports the finding that current economic recession is associated with poorer mental health differentially according to labour market status and educational level. Those with secondary studies may be at risk in times of economic recession. In connection with this, emerging educational inequalities in mental health among the employed population were observed. Our research also suggests a partial mediating role of financial strain for the effects of crisis on poor mental health among the unemployed. Good social support appears to buffer poor mental health in all subgroups but not specifically during crisis period.

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  • 14.
    Córdoba-Doña, Juan Antonio
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. Delegación Territorial de la Consejería de Salud de la Junta de Andalucía, Cádiz, Spain.
    Escolar-Pujolar, Antonio
    San Sebastián, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Withstanding austerity: equity in health services utilisation in the first stage of the economic recession in Southern Spain2018In: PLOS ONE, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 13, no 3, article id e0195293Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Scant research is available on the impact of the current economic crisis and austerity policies on inequality in health services utilisation in Europe. This study aimed to describe the trends in horizontal inequity in the use of health services in Andalusia, Spain, during the early years of the Great Recession, and the contribution of demographic, economic and social factors. Consultation with a general practitioner (GP) and specialist, hospitalisation and emergency care were studied through the Andalusian Health Survey 2007 (pre-crisis) and 2011-2012 (crisis), using a composite income index as socioeconomic status (SES) indicator. Horizontal inequity indices (HII) were calculated to take differential healthcare needs into account, and a decomposition analysis of change in inequality between periods was performed. Results showed that before the crisis, the HII was positive (greater access for people with higher SES) for specialist visits but negative (greater access for people with lower SES) in the other three utilisation models. During the crisis no change was observed in inequalities in GP visits, but a pro-poor development was seen for the other types of utilisation, with hospital and emergency care showing significant inequality in favour of low income groups. Overall, the main contributors to pro-poor changes in utilisation were socioeconomic variables and poor mental health, due to changes in their elasticities. Our findings show that inequalities in healthcare utilisation largely remained in favour of the less well-off, despite the cuts in welfare benefits and health services provision during the early years of the recession in Andalusia. Further research is needed to monitor the potential impact of such measures in subsequent years.

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  • 15.
    Córdoba-Doña, Juan Antonio
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. Delegación Territorial de Igualdad, Salud y Políticas Sociales de Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain.
    San Sebastián, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Escolar-Pujolar, Antonio
    Delegación Territorial de Igualdad, Salud y Políticas Sociales de Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain.
    Martínez-Faure, Jesús Enrique
    Empresa Pública de Emergencias Sanitarias, Cádiz, Spain.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Economic crisis and suicidal behaviour: the role of unemployment, sex and age in Andalusia, Southern Spain2014In: International Journal for Equity in Health, E-ISSN 1475-9276, Vol. 13, article id 55Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    INTRODUCTION: Although suicide rates have increased in some European countries in relation to the current economic crisis and austerity policies, that trend has not been observed in Spain. This study examines the impact of the economic crisis on suicide attempts, the previously neglected endpoint of the suicidal process, and its relation to unemployment, age and sex.

    METHODS: The study was carried out in Andalusia, the most populated region of Spain, and which has a high level of unemployment. Information on suicide attempts attended by emergency services was extracted from the Health Emergencies Public Enterprise Information System (SIEPES). Suicide attempts occurring between 2003 and 2012 were included, in order to cover five years prior to the crisis (2003-2007) and five years after its onset (2008-2012). Information was retrieved from 24,380 cases (11,494 men and 12,886 women) on sex, age, address, and type of attention provided. Age-adjusted suicide attempt rates were calculated. Excess numbers of attempts from 2008 to 2012 were estimated for each sex using historical trends of the five previous years, through time regression models using negative binomial regression analysis. To assess the association between unemployment and suicide attempts rates, linear regression models with fixed effects were performed.

    RESULTS: A sharp increase in suicide attempt rates in Andalusia was detected after the onset of the crisis, both in men and in women. Adults aged 35 to 54 years were the most affected in both sexes. Suicide attempt rates were associated with unemployment rates in men, accounting for almost half of the cases during the five initial years of the crisis. Women were also affected during the recession period but this association could not be specifically attributed to unemployment.

    CONCLUSIONS: This study enhances our understanding of the potential effects of the economic crisis on the rapidly increasing suicide attempt rates in women and men, and the association of unemployment with growing suicidal behaviour in men. Research on the suicide effects of the economic crisis may need to take into account earlier stages of the suicidal process, and that this effect may differ by age and sex.

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  • 16.
    Degerlund Maldi, Kinza
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Jonsson, Frida
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Widespread and widely widening?: Examining absolute socioeconomic health inequalities in northern Sweden across twelve health indicators2019In: International Journal for Equity in Health, E-ISSN 1475-9276, Vol. 18, article id 197Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Socioeconomic inequalities in health is a widely studied topic. However, epidemiological research tends to focus on one or a few outcomes conditioned on one indicator, overlooking the fact that health inequalities can vary depending on the outcome studied and the indicator used. To bridge this gap, this study aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the patterns of socioeconomic health inequalities in Northern Sweden over time, across a range of health outcomes, using an 'outcome-wide' epidemiological approach.

    Method: Cross-sectional data from three waves of the 'Health on Equal Terms' survey, distributed in 2006, 2010 and 2014 were used. Firstly, socioeconomic inequalities by income and education for twelve outcomes (self-rated health, self-rated dental health, overweight, hypertension, diabetes, long-term illness, stress, depression, psychological distress, smoking, risky alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity) were examined by calculating the Slope Index of Inequality. Secondly, time trends for each outcome and socioeconomic indicator were estimated.

    Results: Income inequalities increased for psychological distress and physical inactivity in men as well as for selfrated health, overweight, hypertension, long-term illness, and smoking among women. Educational inequalities increased for hypertension, long-term illness, and stress (the latter favouring lower education) in women. The only instance of decreasing income inequalities was seen for long-term illness in men, while education inequalities decreased for long-term illness in men and poor self-rated health, poor self-rated dental health, and smoking in women.

    Conclusion: Patterns of absolute socioeconomic inequalities in health vary by health and socioeconomic indicator, as well as between men and women. Overall, trends appear more stagnant in men while they fluctuate in women. Income inequalities seem to be generally greater than educational inequalities when looking across several different health indicators, a message that can only be derived from this type of outcome-wide study. These disparate findings suggest that generalised and universal statements about the development of health inequalities can be too simplistic and potentially misleading. Nonetheless, despite inequalities being complex, they do exist and tend to increase. Thus, an outcome-wide approach is a valuable method which should be utilised to generate evidence for prioritisations of policy decisions

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  • 17. Delpierre, Cyrille
    et al.
    Barbosa-Solis, Cristina
    Torrisani, Jerome
    Darnaudery, Muriel
    Bartley, Melanie
    Blane, David
    Kelly-Irving, Michelle
    Getz, Linn
    Tomasdottir, Margret Olafia
    Roberston, Tony
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Origins of heath inequalities: the case for Allostatic Load2016In: Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, E-ISSN 1757-9597, Vol. 7, no 1, p. 79-103Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In an opening paper Delpierre et al. explore the concept of allostatic load. The impact of the environment on our biological systems is summarised by the concept of embodiment. The biological embedding of social conditions could therefore be a relevant mechanism to partly explain the social gradient in health. A key issue is how to measure the 'physiological reality' the biological expression of embodiment at individual and population levels. Allostatic load (AL) has been proposed as a measure of the overall cost of adapting to the environment and may be a relevant tool or concept for measuring the way we have embodied our environment. Social inequalities in health may be partly explained by the embodiment of social environments, and AL may allow us to measure and compare embodiment between socioeconomic groups. However, before operationalising AL, a number of issues deserve further exploration. Among these, the choice of biological systems, and variables within each system, that should be included to remain 'loyal' to the theory of biological multisystem wastage underlying AL and the most appropriate methodological approach to be used to build an AL score, are particularly important. Moreover, studies analysing the link between adverse environments (physical, chemical, nutritional, psychosocial) across the life course and AL remain rare. Such studies require cohorts with data on socioeconomic and psychosocial environments over the life course, with multiple biological measures, made at various stages across the life span. The development and maintenance of these cohorts is essential to continue exploring the promising results that could enhance our understanding of the genesis of the social gradient in health by measuring embodiment. These points are then debated in commentaries by Linn Getz and Margret Olafia Tomasdottir, Tony Robertson and Per Gustafson. The commentaries are followed by a response from the authors of the opening paper.

  • 18.
    Elwér, Sofia
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Socialmedicin.
    Strandh, Mattias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Gustafsson, Per
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Socialmedicin.
    Life course models of economic stress and poor mental health in mid-adulthood: results from the prospective Northern Swedish Cohort2015In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 43, no 8, p. 833-840Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aim: The aim was to analyse the association between economic stress during youth and adulthood, and poor mental health through life course models of (1) accumulation of risk and (2) sensitive period. Methods: The study was based on the Northern Sweden Cohort, a 26-year prospective cohort (N = 1010 in 2007; 94% of those participating in 1981 still alive) ranging from adolescence to middle age. Economic stress was measured at age 16, 21, 30 and 42 years. Two life course models of accumulation of risk and sensitive period were analysed using ordinal regression with internalized symptoms of mental health as outcome. Results: Exposure of economic stress at several life course periods was associated with higher odds of internalized mental health symptoms for both women and men, which supports the accumulated risk model. No support for a sensitive period was found for the whole sample. For men, however, adolescence appears to be a sensitive period during which the exposure to economic stress has negative mental health consequences later in life independently of economic stress at other ages. Conclusion: This study confirms that the duration of economic stress between adolescence and middle age is important for mental health. In addition, the results give some indication of a sensitive period of exposure to economic stress during adolescence for men, although more research is needed to confirm possible gender differences.

  • 19.
    Fagrell Trygg, Nadja
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Hurtig, Anna-Karin
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Månsdotter, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Reducing or reproducing inequalities in health?: An intersectional policy analysis of how health inequalities are represented in a Swedish bill on alcohol, drugs, tobacco and gambling2022In: BMC Public Health, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 22, article id 1302Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: According to post-structural policy analyses, policies and interventions aiming at reducing social inequalities have been found to be part in producing and reifying such inequalities themselves. Given the central role of health inequalities on the public health policy agenda globally it seems important to examine the way policy on health inequalities may potentially counteract the goal of health equity. The aim of this intersectional policy analysis, was to critically analyze the representation of health inequalities in a government bill proposing a national strategy on alcohol, drugs, tobacco and gambling, to examine its performative power, and to outline alternative representations.

    Method: A post-structural approach to policy analysis was combined with an intersectional framework. The material was analyzed through an interrogating process guided by the six questions of the “What’s the problem represented to be?” (WPR) approach. Thus, the underlying assumptions of the problem representation, its potential implications and historical background were explored. In a final step of the analysis we examined our own problem representations.

    Results: The recommendations found in the gender and equity perspective of the bill represented the problem of health inequalities as a lack of knowledge, with an emphasis on quantitative knowledge about differences in health between population groups. Three underlying assumptions supporting this representation were found: quantification and objectivity, inequalities as unidimensional, and categorization and labelling. The analysis showed how the bill, by opting into these partly overlapping assumptions, is part of enacting a discourse on health inequalities that directs attention to specific subjects (e.g., vulnerable) with special needs (e.g., health care), in certain places (e.g., disadvantaged neighborhoods). It also showed how underlying processes of marginalization are largely neglected in the bill due to its focus on describing differences rather than solutions. Finally, we showed how different intersectional approaches could be used to complement and challenge this, potentially counteractive, problem representation.

    Conclusions: The problem representation of health inequalities and its underlying assumptions may have counteractive effects on health equity, and even though some of its strengths are raised, it seems to be profoundly entangled with a system resisting the kind of change that the bill itself advocates for. If carefully used, intersectionality has the potential to support a more comprehensive and inclusive equality-promoting public health policy and practice.

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  • 20.
    Fagrell Trygg, Nadja
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Månsdotter, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Intersectional inequalities in mental health across multiple dimensions of inequality in the Swedish adult population2021In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 283, article id 114184Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Intersectionality has recently gained traction in health inequality research emphasizing multiple intersecting dimensions of inequality as opposed to the traditional unidimensional approaches. In this study inequalities in mental health were estimated across intersections of gender, income, education, occupation, country of birth, and sexual orientation. The outcomes and inequalities of intersectional strata were disentangled analogously to the possibilities described by intersectionality theory; as a result of either of the two inequality dimensions, as a result of the sum the dimensions, or as a unique outcome not equaling the sum. Furthermore the study examined the discriminatory accuracy of the six inequality dimensions as well as the intersectional space comprising 64 strata. The study population (N = 52,743) consists of a yearly random sample of the Swedish population 26–84 years between 2010 and 2015, from The Health on Equal Terms survey. Mental health was measured through a self-administered General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)-12, and sociodemographics through survey and linked register data. Intersectional inequalities in mental health were estimated for all pairwise combinations of inequality dimensions by joint inequalities, excess intersectional inequalities and referent inequalities. The findings of the study found that the sum of dimensions contributed to the overall (joint) inequality in mental health rather than a reinforced adverse effect of multiple disadvantages or the contribution by a single dimension. Nevertheless, the dimension of income was found to be the most important in terms of relative contribution. The discriminatory accuracy was low indicating that policy action targeting mental health should be universal rather than focusing on particular groups. The results highlight the unpredictable inequality patterns revealed by an intersectional approach, even for a single health outcome and within one country, and illustrate the need for empirical investigations into the actual population patterns in health that appear in the intersections of multiple disadvantages.

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  • 21.
    Fonseca-Rodríguez, Osvaldo
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Microbiology.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Connolly-Andersen, Anne-Marie
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Microbiology.
    Spatial clustering and contextual factors associated with hospitalisation and deaths due to COVID-19 in Sweden: A geospatial nationwide ecological study2021In: BMJ Global Health, E-ISSN 2059-7908, Vol. 6, no 7, article id e006247Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Introduction: In Sweden, thousands of hospitalisations and deaths due to COVID-19 were reported since the pandemic started. Considering the uneven spatial distribution of those severe outcomes at the municipality level, the objective of this study was, first, to identify high-risk areas for COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths, and second, to determine the associated contextual factors with the uneven spatial distribution of both study outcomes in Sweden.

    Methods: The existences of spatial autocorrelation of the standardised incidence (hospitalisations) ratio and standardised mortality ratio were investigated using Global Moran's I test. Furthermore, we applied the retrospective Poisson spatial scan statistics to identify high-risk spatial clusters. The association between the contextual demographic and socioeconomic factors and the number of hospitalisations and deaths was estimated using a quasi-Poisson generalised additive regression model.

    Results: Ten high-risk spatial clusters of hospitalisations and six high-risk clusters of mortality were identified in Sweden from February 2020 to October 2020. The hospitalisations and deaths were associated with three contextual variables in a multivariate model: population density (inhabitants/km 2) and the proportion of immigrants (%) showed a positive association with both outcomes, while the proportion of the population aged 65+ years (%) showed a negative association.

    Conclusions: Our study identified high-risk spatial clusters for hospitalisations and deaths due to COVID-19 and the association of population density, the proportion of immigrants and the proportion of people aged 65+ years with those severe outcomes. Results indicate where public health measures must be reinforced to improve sustained and future disease control and optimise the distribution of resources.

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  • 22. Fritzell, S.
    et al.
    Källberg, H.
    Busch, H.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Income-related inequalities in mental health in Sweden and the role of social determinants2019In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 29, no Suppl 4, p. 233-233Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Mental health is an increasing concern in all European countries as the burden of mental disorders continue to grow and cause substantial suffering and costs to societies. Furthermore, research shows there are social inequalities in the distribution of mental illness. This study aims to increase knowledge on income-related inequalities in mental health in Sweden and the role of social determinants.

    Methods: Drawing on a national survey (Health on Equal Terms) representative of the population aged 16-84, years 2010-2015 (n = 57107) we quantify the income-related inequality in mental health and estimate the contribution of social determinants of the inequality. Poor mental health is defined as a value of at least 3, based on the general health questionnaire (GHQ)-12. Income is measured as yearly disposable income. Income related inequalities in mental health are quantified by the concentration index and decomposed using the Wagstaff-type decomposition analysis.

    Results: Preliminary results show that the income inequalities in mental health, as measured by the overall concentration index in mental health was - 0,16 (95% CI -0.17 to -0.15), indicating income inequalities to the disadvantage of those less affluent. The determinants that contributed most to the inequalities were employment, financial strain and experiencing harassment. Together they explained 43 % of the income inequalities in mental health. Generally, socio-economic factors had highest importance for the inequalities found, while demographic factors and psychosocial factors were of smaller importance.

    Conclusions: The income related inequalities in mental health are substantial in Sweden. Recently, a national target of reducing the preventable inequalities in health within a generation was adopted. To improve surveillance of inequalities and inform policy we need to closely follow the development of inequalities in mental health and to disentangle the contribution of specific social determinants.

    Key messages

    • Income-related inequalities in mental health in Sweden are considerable.

    • Socio-economic factors had highest importance for the inequalities found, while demographic factors and psychosocial factors were of smaller importance.

  • 23. Gustafsson, Per A.
    et al.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Anckarsäter, Henrik
    Lichtenstein, Paul
    Ljung, Therese
    Nelson, Nina
    Larsson, Henrik
    Heritability of the cortisol regulation in children2011In: Twin Research and Human Genetics, ISSN 1832-4274, E-ISSN 1839-2628, Vol. 14, no 6, p. 553-561Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: The normal development of cortisol regulation during childhood is thought to be influenced by a complex interplay between environmental and genetic factors. Method: The aim of this study was to estimate genetic and environmental influences on basal cortisol levels in a sample of 151 twin pairs aged 9-16 years. Salivary cortisol was collected on two consecutive days when the children attended school immediately after awakening, 30 min post-awakening and at bedtime. Results: Heritability was highest (60%) for cortisol levels about 30 min after awakening. For samples taken immediately at awakening heritability was less pronounced (28%) and in the evening low (8%). Conclusion: The limited genetic influence on evening levels, moderate on cortisol at awakening and high on awakening response, might imply two genetic regulation patterns, one specifically for awakening response and one for the circadian rhythm proper. These findings could explain divergent results in previous studies and highlight the importance of taking the circadian rhythm into account in studies of cortisol levels in children.

  • 24.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    Linköpings universitet.
    Psychosocial stress, mental health and salivary cortisol in children and adolescents2008Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Stressful experiences and conditions in childhood influence the health and well-being of the growing individual, and can also confer a long-lasting impact into adult life. Delineating the social, mental and biological aspects of stress in children and adolescents is therefore of great concern for human beings. Despite these notions, much knowledge is lacking regarding stress in childhood.

    This thesis aimed at examining diverse aspects of stress in children and adolescents: associations between social conditions, traumatic life events, mental health, and salivary cortisol as a measure of the activity of a major physiological stress system. Cross-sectional samples included two non-clinical samples of school-aged children (N=240-336) and adolescents (N =400), and two clinical samples of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (N =23) and adolescents who had experienced childhood abuse (N =15). Main measures were salivary cortisol sampled three times a day, and questionnaires to teachers, parents and children with questions about each child’s mental health, traumatic life events and about the socioeconomic situation of the parents.

    The main findings include observation of 1) higher cortisol levels in children with a moderate level of psychosocial burden (low socioeconomic status, immigrant family, social impairment of mental health problems), 2) higher cortisol levels in children with OCD who also displayed a tendency to decreasing cortisol in the face of an acute stressor, and 3) cortisol was positively related to mental health problems in abused adolescents. Furthermore, the deleterious effect of 4) traumatic events involving a social dimension, interpersonal traumas, and 5) cumulative traumatic events, polytraumatization, on the mental health of children and adolescents was indicated.

    The findings are discussed with respect to the complex interactions between social, mental and biological aspects of children and adolescents. The consequences of adverse experiences in childhood may represent pathways to future health problems. Consideration of the social circumstances in childhood might in the future guide public health policies and the identification of target groups for preventive interventions as well as leading to improvements in treatment for children exposed to severe stress.

  • 25.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Anckarsäter, Henrik
    Lichtenstein, Paul
    Nelson, Nina
    Gustafsson, Per A
    Does quantity have a quality all its own? Cumulative adversity and up- and down-regulation of circadian salivary cortisol levels in healthy children.2010In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, ISSN 0306-4530, E-ISSN 1873-3360, Vol. 35, no 9, p. 1410-1415Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Findings have been divergent regarding the direction of basal cortisol dysregulations resulting from stressor exposure, and seem to differ between young people and adults. Accumulated stress exposure has been suggested to be a risk factor for the development of hypocortisolism. This cross-sectional study aims to examine the impact of cumulative adversity, i.e., the number of adversities, on diurnal salivary cortisol levels, including the cortisol awakening response (CAR), in children without psychiatric disorder. The sample consisted of 130 children (mean age 12.8 years), representing one in each twin pair included in the population-based Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS). Information about socioeconomic disadvantage, negative life events and potentially traumatic life events were collected by telephone interview and questionnaires, with parents as informants. Salivary cortisol sampling was performed in the home during two school days: at awakening, +30 min post-awakening, and at bedtime. Results showed that the number of adversities was related to the CAR, diurnal decline and +30 min post-awakening cortisol levels. Children with a moderate amount of cumulative adversity displayed high cortisol measures, while those with a high amount (3 or more) of adversities instead showed levels similar to the non-exposed group, yielding an inverse U-pattern of the association between cortisol and adversity. These results indicate that the accumulation of adversity might be an explanation of patterns of basal cortisol up-regulation in children and that those most severely exposed can exhibit an early stage of down-regulation, an issue which should be further examined in longitudinal studies.

  • 26.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Bozorgmehr, Kayvan
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    What role does adolescent neighborhood play for adult health?: A cross-classified multilevel analysis of life course models in Northern Sweden2017In: Health and Place, ISSN 1353-8292, E-ISSN 1873-2054, Vol. 46, p. 137-144Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examined whether, and by which life course models, adolescent neighborhood environment relate to health in mid-adulthood. Data came from the Northern Swedish Cohort (n=1001), surveyed at age 16, 21, 30 and 42 years including functional somatic symptoms at age 42, and individual disadvantage neighborhood disadvantage at all four ages. Results from cross-classified multilevel models showed that 12.7% of age 42 health variance was explained by an interaction of age 16 and age 42 neighborhood of residence. Our study thus suggests that health variation by neighborhood in mid-adulthood may partly depend on neighborhood of residence in adolescence.

  • 27.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Fonseca Rodriguez, Osvaldo
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Castel Feced, Sara
    Department of Microbiology, Pediatrics, Radiology, and Public Health, University of Zaragoza, Spain.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Bastos, João Luiz
    Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Canada.
    Mosquera, Paola
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    A novel application of interrupted time series analysis to identify the impact of a primary health care reform on intersectional inequities in avoidable hospitalizations in the adult Swedish population2024In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 343, article id 116589Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Primary health care (PHC) systems are a crucial instrument for achieving equitable population health, but there is little evidence of how PHC reforms impact equities in population health. In 2010, Sweden implemented a reform that promoted marketization and privatization of PHC. The present study uses a novel integration of intersectionality-informed and evaluative epidemiological analytical frameworks to disentangle the impact of the 2010 Swedish PHC reform on intersectional inequities in avoidable hospitalizations. The study population comprised the total Swedish population aged 18–85 years across 2001–2017, in total 129 million annual observations, for whom register data on sociodemographics and hospitalizations due to ambulatory care sensitive conditions were retrieved. Multilevel Analysis of Individual Heterogeneity and Discriminatory Analyses (MAIHDA) were run for the pre-reform (2001–2009) and post-reform (2010–2017) periods to provide a mapping of inequities. In addition, random effects estimates reflecting the discriminatory accuracy of intersectional strata were extracted from a series MAIHDAs run per year 2001–2017. The estimates were re-analyzed by Interrupted Time Series Analysis (ITSA), in order to identify the impact of the reform on measures of intersectional inequity in avoidable hospitalizations. The results point to a complex reconfiguration of social inequities following the reform. While the post-reform period showed a reduction in overall rates of avoidable hospitalizations and in age disparities, socioeconomic inequities in avoidable hospitalizations, as well as the importance of interactions between complex social positions, both increased. Socioeconomically disadvantaged groups born in the Nordic countries seem to have benefited the least from the reform. The study supports a greater attention to the potentially complex consequences that health reforms can have on inequities in health and health care, which may not be immediate apparent in conventional evaluations of either population-average outcomes, or by simple evaluations of equity impacts. Methodological approaches for evaluation of complex inequity impacts need further development.

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  • 28.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Fonseca Rodriguez, Osvaldo
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Nilsson, Ingeborg
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Section of Occupational Therapy.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Intersectional inequalities in loneliness among older adults before and during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic: A total population survey in the Swedish eldercare setting2022In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, article id 115447Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Loneliness among older adults is a public health problem that has received particular attention since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies to date have however found a rather modest psychosocial impact of the pandemic on older adults, and scarce research has analyzed this impact using a comprehensive equity lens. The present study used an intersectional approach to examine social inequalities in loneliness before and during the early phase of the pandemic among older adults receiving eldercare in Sweden. The study population (analytical N = 205,529) came from two waves (2019 and 2020) of a total population survey to all older adult (>65 years of age) home care recipients and nursing home residents in Sweden. Loneliness was self-reported by a single-item measure, and survey data were linked to population register data on age, gender, residential setting, income, and country of birth. Additive binomial regression models were used to estimate prevalence differences and discriminatory accuracy according to an analysis of individual heterogeneity and discriminatory accuracy (AIHDA) approach. Results showed inequalities in loneliness arising particularly in the intersection of country of birth, income, and residential setting. The inequalities widened slightly but ubiquitously following the emergence of the pandemic in 2020, with particularly nursing home residents emerging as a risk group. The discriminatory accuracy of inequalities was consistently low to moderate throughout the analyses but increased marginally during the pandemic in 2020. The study illustrates how social inequalities engenders heterogeneity in the psychosocial risk of older adults before and during the pandemic. These findings should stimulate more nuanced and equity-oriented depictions, research and policies about loneliness among older adults in the peri-pandemic era.

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  • 29.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Gustafsson, PA
    Ivarsson, T
    Nelson, N
    Diurnal cortisol levels and cortisol response in youths with obsessive-compulsive disorder.2008In: Neuropsychobiology, ISSN 0302-282X, E-ISSN 1423-0224, Vol. 57, no 1-2, p. 14-21Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 30.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Gustafsson, PA
    Nelson, N
    Cortisol levels and psychosocial factors in preadeolescent children.2006In: Stress & Health, Vol. 22, no 1, p. 3-9Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 31.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.
    Socioeconomic disadvantage in adolescent women and metabolic syndrome in mid-adulthood: an examination of pathways of embodiment in the Northern Swedish Cohort2012In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 74, no 10, p. 1630-1638Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research indicates that disadvantaged socioeconomic status in childhood or adolescence increases specifically women's risk for developing metabolic syndrome in adulthood. Construing this observation as an expression of embodiment, the present study aims at examining the 'social chain of risk' and the 'reproduction' hypotheses as pathways of this embodiment. Participants were all women in the Northern Swedish Cohort, a 27-year prospective Swedish cohort, with data collection in 1981 at age 16 years (n = 1083, 506 women), and follow-up at age 21, 30 and 43 (n = 482 women) years. The analytical sample was n = 399 women (79% of the original cohort). Socioeconomic disadvantage was defined as parental manual occupation at age 16, and metabolic syndrome according to standardized criteria at age 43. The social chain of risk was operationalized as accumulated social and material adversities at age 16, 21, 30 and 43 years, and reproductive factors by age at menarche, early childbearing (before age 22), and number of children at age 43. In logistic regression with metabolic syndrome as the outcome, the OR for adolescent socioeconomic status was rendered non-significant and reduced by 21.6% after adjustment for cumulative adversity over the life course. Of the reproductive factors, only age at menarche lead to an OR reduction at all (by 43%). Our study suggests that women's embodiment of socioeconomic disadvantage during upbringing is partly explained by adversity over the subsequent life course. Future studies should incorporate the living conditions of women over the life course as a possible pathway whereby early life socioeconomic conditions are embodied. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • 32.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Janlert, Urban
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Theorell, Tores
    Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Westerlund, Hugo
    Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Do peer relations in adolescence influence health in adulthood?: Peer problems in the school setting and the metabolic syndrome in middle-age2012In: PLOS ONE, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 7, no 6, p. e39385-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    While the importance of social relations for health has been demonstrated in childhood, adolescence and adulthood, few studies have examined the prospective importance of peer relations for adult health. The aim of this study was to examine whether peer problems in the school setting in adolescence relates to the metabolic syndrome in middle-age. Participants came from the Northern Swedish Cohort, a 27-year cohort study of school leavers (effective n = 881, 82% of the original cohort). A score of peer problems was operationalized through form teachers' assessment of each student's isolation and popularity among school peers at age 16 years, and the metabolic syndrome was measured by clinical measures at age 43 according to established criteria. Additional information on health, health behaviors, achievement and social circumstances were collected from teacher interviews, school records, clinical measurements and self-administered questionnaires. Logistic regression was used as the main statistical method. Results showed a dose-response relationship between peer problems in adolescence and metabolic syndrome in middle-age, corresponding to 36% higher odds for the metabolic syndrome at age 43 for each SD higher peer problems score at age 16. The association remained significant after adjustment for health, health behaviors, school adjustment or family circumstances in adolescence, and for psychological distress, health behaviors or social circumstances in adulthood. In analyses stratified by sex, the results were significant only in women after adjustment for covariates. Peer problems were significantly related to all individual components of the metabolic syndrome. These results suggest that unsuccessful adaption to the school peer group can have enduring consequences for metabolic health.

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  • 33.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Janlert, Urban
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Theorell, Töres
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Is body size at birth related to circadian salivary cortisol levels in adulthood? Results from a longitudinal cohort study.2010In: BMC Public Health, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 10, no 346Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background

    The hypothesis of fetal origins of adult disease has during the last decades received interest as an explanation of chronic, e.g. cardiovascular, disease in adulthood stemming from fetal environmental conditions. Early programming and enduring dysregulations of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA axis), with cortisol as its end product, has been proposed as a possible mechanism by which birth weight influence later health status. However, the fetal origin of the adult cortisol regulation has been insufficiently studied. The present study aims to examine if body size at birth is related to circadian cortisol levels at 43 years.

    Methods

    Participants were drawn from a prospective cohort study (n = 752, 74.5%). Salivary cortisol samples were collected at four times during one day at 43 years, and information on birth size was collected retrospectively from delivery records. Information on body mass during adolescence and adulthood and on health behavior, medication and medical conditions at 43 years was collected prospectively by questionnaire and examined as potential confounders. Participants born preterm or < 2500 g were excluded from the main analyses.

    Results

    Across the normal spectrum, size at birth (birth weight and ponderal index) was positively related to total (area under the curve, AUC) and bedtime cortisol levels in the total sample. Results were more consistent in men than in women. Descriptively, participants born preterm or < 2500 g also seemed to display elevated evening and total cortisol levels. No associations were found for birth length or for the cortisol awakening response (CAR).

    Conclusions

    These results are contradictory to previously reported negative associations between birth weight and adult cortisol levels, and thus tentatively question the assumption that only low birth weight predicts future physiological dysregulations.

  • 34.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Janlert, Urban
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Theorell, Töres
    Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Life-course socioeconomic trajectories and diurnal cortisol regulation in adulthood2010In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, ISSN 0306-4530, E-ISSN 1873-3360, Vol. 35, no 4, p. 613-623Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Although the health risk of socioeconomic disadvantage over the life-course is fairly established, the mechanisms are less studied. One candidate pathway is long-term dysregulation of cortisol. This study assesses whether socioeconomic trajectories from adolescence to adulthood influences the regulation of cortisol in mid-adulthood, and further investigates the importance of adolescence as a critical period and of accumulation of socioeconomic disadvantage. Participants were drawn from a 27-year prospective cohort study (n = 732, 68% of the original cohort). Information on socioeconomic status (SES) was collected at the ages of 16 (based on parental occupation), 21, 30 and 43 (based on own occupation) years, and at 43 years participants collected one-day salivary cortisol samples at awakening, after 15 min, before lunch and at bedtime. We found that the cortisol awakening response (CAR) differed with respect to SES trajectory; those with stable low or early low/upwardly mobile SES tended to display higher CAR than those with early high/downwardly mobile, highly mobile or stable high trajectories. Further analyses revealed that early low SES was related to higher CAR, and in women low SES was related to lower bedtime cortisol, independently of later SES and potential confounders. We found no support for a linear effect of accumulation of socioeconomic disadvantage. In conclusion, our study gives support for an independent effect of low socioeconomic status early in life, on the regulation of cortisol in adulthood.

  • 35.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Janlert, Urban
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Theorell, Töres
    Westerlund, Hugo
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Fetal and life course origins of serum lipids in mid-adulthood: results from a prospective cohort study2010In: BMC Public Health, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 10, no 484Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background During the past two decades, the hypothesis of fetal origins of adult disease has received considerable attention. However, critique has also been raised regarding the failure to take the explanatory role of accumulation of other exposures into consideration, despite the wealth of evidence that social circumstances during the life course impact on health in adulthood. The aim of the present prospective cohort study was to examine the contributions of birth weight and life course exposures (cumulative socioeconomic disadvantage and adversity) to dyslipidemia and serum lipids in mid-adulthood.

    Methods A cohort (effective n = 824, 77%) was prospectively examined with respect to self-reported socioeconomic status as well as stressors (e.g., financial strain, low decision latitude, separation, death or illness of a close one, unemployment) at the ages of 16, 21, 30 and 43 years; summarized in cumulative socioeconomic disadvantage and cumulative adversity. Information on birth weight was collected from birth records. Participants were assessed for serum lipids (total cholesterol, low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides), apolipoproteins (A1 and B) and height and weight (for the calculation of body mass index, BMI) at age 43. Current health behavior (alcohol consumption, smoking and snuff use) was reported at age 43.

    Results Cumulative life course exposures were related to several outcomes; mainly explained by cumulative socioeconomic disadvantage in the total sample (independently of current health behaviors but attenuated by current BMI) and also by cumulative adversity in women (partly explained by current health behavior but not by BMI). Birth weight was related only to triglycerides in women, independently of life course exposures, health behaviors and BMI. No significant association of either exposure was observed in men.

    Conclusions Social circumstances during the life course seem to be of greater importance than birth weight for dyslipidemia and serum lipid levels in adulthood.

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    Fetal and life course origins of serum lipids in mid-adulthood: results from a prospective chort study
  • 36.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Janlert, Urban
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Theorell, Töres
    Westerlund, Hugo
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Social and material adversity from adolescence to adulthood and allostatic load in middle-aged women and men: results from the Northern Swedish cohort2012In: Annals of Behavioral Medicine, ISSN 0883-6612, E-ISSN 1532-4796, Vol. 43, no 1, p. 117-128Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background  Little is known about the theoretically assumed association between adversity exposure over the life course and allostatic load in adulthood.

    Purpose  This study aims to examine whether social and material adversity over the life course is related to allostatic load in mid-adulthood.

    Methods  A 27-year prospective Swedish cohort (N = 822; 77% response rate) reported exposure to social and material adversities at age 16, 21, 30 and 43 years. At age 43, allostatic load was operationalized based on 12 biological parameters.

    Results  Social adversity accumulated over the life course was related to allostatic load in both women and men, independently of cumulative socioeconomic disadvantage. Moreover, social adversity in adolescence (in women) and young adulthood (in men) was related to allostatic load, independently of cumulative socioeconomic disadvantage and also of later adversity exposure during adulthood.

    Conclusion  Exposure to adversities involving relational threats impacts on allostatic load in adulthood and operates according to life course models of cumulative risk and a sensitive period around the transition into adulthood.

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  • 37.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Janlert, Urban
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Theorell, Töres
    Westerlund, Hugo
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Socioeconomic status over the life course and allostatic load in adulthood: results from the Northern Swedish Cohort2011In: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, ISSN 0143-005X, E-ISSN 1470-2738, Vol. 65, p. 986-992Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background Although several studies have reported rather consistent associations between socioeconomic status (SES) and allostatic load (AL), so far no study has examined the influence of SES over the life course on AL. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between SES over the life course and AL in mid-adulthood, guided by the conceptual models of cumulative risk, critical period and social chain of risk.

    Methods The sample comprises a 27-year prospective cohort (n=1071) from northern Sweden. Participants (n=855, 79.8%) completed questionnaires at the ages of 16, 21, 30 and 43 years. A health examination was performed at age 43 years after an overnight fast, including physical examination and blood sampling, and participants completed 1-day salivary cortisol sampling (four samples). SES was based on parental occupation at age 16 years and participants' own occupation at ages 21, 30 and 43 years. Information on daily smoking, snuff use, high alcohol consumption and physical inactivity was reported by the participants. An AL index was constructed from tertiles of 12 biological parameters.

    Results Cumulative socioeconomic disadvantage was related to AL in both women and men. The association was largely explained by health behaviours in men, but was independent of health behaviours in women. In women, an association was observed between AL and SES in adolescence, whereas in men only current SES was related to AL, independently of current health behaviours.

    Conclusions SES over the life course influences the level of multi-systemic dysregulation in mid-adulthood, with the strongest support for the cumulative risk model.

  • 38.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Janlert, Urban
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Virtanen, Pekka
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    The association between long-term accumulation of temporary employment, the cortisol awakening response and circadian cortisol levels2012In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, ISSN 0306-4530, E-ISSN 1873-3360, Vol. 37, no 6, p. 789-800Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Temporary employment is an increasingly common contract type, which has not been investigated in a psychoneuroendocrinological context despite previous observations of associations between adverse work and employment conditions and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulations. The present study aims to examine whether the 12-year accumulation of temporary employment is related to circadian cortisol levels, and if any association is independent of current employment conditions. Participants were drawn from the prospective Northern Swedish Cohort (n = 791, 74% of the original cohort). At age 43 years, retrospective reports of employments over the last 12 years and of current social conditions were collected by questionnaire, and one-day salivary cortisol profile was measured (at awakening, +15 min post-awakening, pre-lunch, bedtime). Results indicated a gradually higher magnitude of the cortisol awakening response (CAR) in subjects with no (0 months in temporary employment; mean CAR = 34%), moderate (1-25 months in temporary employment; mean CAR = 41%) and heavy (>25 months in temporary employment; mean CAR = 51%) exposure (p = .020), remaining after adjustment for potential confounders and for current employment conditions (p = .028). The higher CAR was explained by lower awakening rather than higher post-awakening cortisol levels. Cortisol levels at all times of the day except post-awakening displayed tendencies to negative relations to temporary employment; as indicated by a lower Area Under of Curve (regression coefficient = 5.0%, p = .038 after adjustment). This study thus suggests that the long-term exposure to temporary employment might confer HPA dysregulations in the form of increased dynamics of the CAR and circadian suppression. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • 39.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Linköping University.
    Larsson, IngBeth
    Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Linköping University.
    Nelson, Nina
    Division of Pediatrics, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Linköping University.
    Gustafsson, Per A
    Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Linköping University.
    Sociocultural disadvantage, traumatic life events, and psychiatric symptoms in preadolescent children2009In: American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, ISSN 0002-9432, E-ISSN 1939-0025, Vol. 79, no 3, p. 387-397Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Previous research has demonstrated impact of psychosocial adversity on the mental health of children. This cross-sectional study examined specific influences of psychosocial adversity on internalizing versus externalizing symptoms, as explained by relative neighborhood disadvantage, sociocultural disadvantage, and exposure to interpersonal and non-interpersonal traumatic life events. Participants included 258 children aged 6 to 12 years from two Swedish elementary schools located in two socioeconomically distinct neighborhood settings. Information was obtained from their parents by means of questionnaires (a demographic form including information about parental occupation and country of origin, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and the Life Incidence of Traumatic Events checklist). Neighborhood differences in mental health were explained by variability in psychosocial adversity. While controlling for gender, age, and the other symptom dimension, sociocultural disadvantage was associated with internalizing but not with externalizing symptoms. In contrast, traumatic life events and especially interpersonal traumas were related to externalizing but not to internalizing symptoms. These findings provide some support for specificity of psychosocial adversities in the impact on child mental health

  • 40.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Linander, Ida
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Mosquera, Paola A.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Embodying pervasive discrimination: a decomposition of sexual orientation inequalities in health in a population-based cross-sectional study in Northern Sweden.2017In: International Journal for Equity in Health, E-ISSN 1475-9276, Vol. 16, article id 22Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BACKGROUND: Studies from Sweden and abroad have established health inequalities between heterosexual and non-heterosexual people. Few studies have examined the underpinnings of such sexual orientation inequalities in health. To expand this literature, the present study aimed to employ decomposition analysis to explain health inequalities between people with heterosexual and non-heterosexual orientation in Sweden, a country with an international reputation for heeding the human rights of non-heterosexual people.

    METHODS: Participants (N = 23,446) came from a population-based cross-sectional survey in the four northernmost counties in Sweden in 2014. Participants completed self-administered questionnaires, covering sexual orientation, mental and general physical health, social conditions and unmet health care needs, and sociodemographic data was retrieved from total population registers. Sexual orientation inequalities in health were decomposed by Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition analysis.

    RESULTS: Results showed noticeable mental and general health inequalities between heterosexual and non-heterosexual orientation groups. Health inequalities were partly explained (total explained fraction 64-74%) by inequalities in degrading treatment (24-26% of the explained fraction), but to a considerable degree also by material conditions (38-45%) and unmet care needs (25-43%).

    CONCLUSIONS: Psychosocial experiences may be insufficient to explain and understand health inequalities by sexual orientation in a reputedly 'gay-friendly' setting. Less overt forms of structural discrimination may need to be considered to capture the pervasive material discrimination that seems to underpin the embodiment of sexual minority inequalities. This ought to be taken into consideration in research, policy-making and monitoring aiming to work towards equity in health across sexual orientations.

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  • 41.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Nelson, Nina
    Gustafsson, Per A
    Diurnal cortisol levels, psychiatric symptoms and sense of coherence in abused adolescents.2010In: Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, ISSN 0803-9488, E-ISSN 1502-4725, Vol. 64, no 1, p. 27-31Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background. The role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in psychiatric disorders following trauma is poorly studied and most studies have been done on adults. Aims. To investigate the association of mental well-being and diurnal cortisol in abused adolescents. Methods. The present cross-sectional study examined diurnal salivary cortisol (measured three times a day during three days) in relation to psychiatric symptoms (Trauma Symptoms Checklist for Children) and the salutogenic construct “sense of coherence”, in 15 adolescents exposed to childhood abuse. Results. Significant correlations were found between symptoms and sense of coherence versus early and late morning cortisol concentrations. The correlations were most consistent for internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and somewhat less for post-traumatic symptoms and sense of coherence. In contrast, evening cortisol did not correlate with any of the psychological measures. Conclusion. These results extend previous research findings by pointing towards a relation between symptoms and higher morning cortisol and accentuated diurnal cortisol variation in abused adolescent as opposed to lower basal cortisol and a flattening of the cortisol rhythm repeatedly observed in traumatized adults. Clinical implications. The pathophysiology of the impact of trauma on youth, including the impact on biological stress systems, are important for an understanding of the consequences of trauma and may serve as a basis for the development of new treatment options.

  • 42.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University.
    Nilsson, Doris
    Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University.
    Svedin, Carl Göran
    Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University.
    Polytraumatization and psychological symptoms in children and adolescents2009In: European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ISSN 1018-8827, E-ISSN 1435-165X, Vol. 18, no 5, p. 274-283Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Previous research on the impact of traumatic experiences in children and adolescents has focused almost entirely on the effect of single trauma. Research on cumulative traumas has been lacking, but Finkelhor (Child Abuse Negl 31:7–26, 2007) has recently directed the attention to the concept of polyvictimization. As an extension of this concept, this study examined the impact of polytraumatization, operationalized as the number of different potentially traumatic events. The study population comprised two cross-sectional samples of school-aged children ( n = 270) and adolescents ( n = 400). Information of life-time incidence of traumatic events was collected by the life incidence of traumatic events (LITE), and psychological symptoms by the parent version of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) for the school children and the self-report trauma symptom checklist for children (TSCC) for the adolescents. We found that exposure to at least one traumatic event was common in both the samples (63% of the children and 89.5% of the adolescents). The number of different traumatic events, polytraumatization, was highly predictive of symptoms in both samples, and with a few exceptions surpassed the impact of specific events in exploratory analyses. We furthermore replicated previous findings of the important impact of interpersonal over non-interpersonal events on symptoms in both samples, and found an indication that this effect differed by gender in different manners in the two samples. This study emphasizes the significance of both the quantity of traumatic events, polytraumatization, as well as the quality, interpersonal events 

  • 43.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Nilsson, Ingeborg
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Section of Occupational Therapy.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Venerable vulnerability or remarkable resilience?: A prospective study of the impact of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine measures on loneliness in Swedish older adults with home care2022In: BMJ Open, E-ISSN 2044-6055, Vol. 12, no 5, article id e060209Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objectives: To examine the early impact of the pandemic and of quarantine measures targeting older adults introduced in March 2020 on loneliness among older adults in Sweden.

    Design: Prospective pretest-posttest and controlled interrupted time series designs.

    Setting: The population of older adults receiving home care before and during the emergence of the first COVID-19 pandemic wave in Sweden in Spring 2020.

    Participants: Respondents (n=45 123, mean age 85.6 years, 67.6% women) came from two waves of a total population survey targeting all community-dwelling older adults receiving home care for older adults in Sweden in Spring 2019 and 2020.

    Outcome: Self-reported loneliness.

    Results: Results estimated 14% (95% CI: 10 to 19) higher loneliness in Spring 2020 compared with 2019, taking covariates into account. No impact of the quarantine measure was found (1% increase, 95% CI: -1 to 4).

    Conclusions: The results illustrate the broader public health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for older adults, but also suggest a relative resilience among older adults in home care to quarantine measures, at least during the first months of the pandemic. Future studies should examine the long-term effects of sustained pandemic and social distancing measures on loneliness among older adults.

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  • 44.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Persson, Mats
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Life course origins of the metabolic syndrome in middle-aged women and men: the role of socioeconomic status and metabolic risk factors in adolescence and early adulthood2011In: Annals of Epidemiology, ISSN 1047-2797, E-ISSN 1873-2585, Vol. 21, no 2, p. 103-110Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    PURPOSE: To assess whether body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and socioeconomic status in adolescence and early adulthood are independently related to the metabolic syndrome in adult women and men.

    METHODS: We based our work on a Swedish prospective cohort study that recruited participants at 16 years of age (N = 1083 at age 16; 403 women and 429 men at age 43, 78% of those still alive [N = 1071]). Blood pressure (BP) and BMI were assessed when participants were 16 and 21 years of age. At age 43, the metabolic syndrome was defined according to the International Diabetes Federation guidelines. Socioeconomic status (SES) was operationalized by the participant (age 21 and 43) or parent's (age 16) occupational status. Information on smoking, snuff, alcohol, and inactivity was collected at age 43.

    RESULTS: In women, SES at age 16 was independently related to the risk of metabolic syndrome. In women and men, BMI at age 16 was related to metabolic syndrome but was attenuated by BMI at age 21, which was significant in the final model; in women systolic BP displayed similar patterns.

    CONCLUSIONS: Our data seem to suggest two independent life course pathways for metabolic syndrome: one metabolic pathway for both women and men operating through BMI (for women also systolic BP) in adolescence and early adulthood, and for women, an apparently independent pathway through adolescent socioeconomic disadvantage. Ann Epidemiol 2011;21:103-110. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  • 45.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Persson, Mats
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Socio-economic disadvantage and body mass over the life course in women and men: results from the Northern Swedish Cohort2012In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 22, no 3, p. 322-327Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Obesity and body mass in adulthood relate both to current and to childhood socio-economic status, particularly in women, but the underlying life course processes are not known. This study aims at examining whether the life course socio-economic status—body mass association in women and men is explained by the cumulative risk or adolescent sensitive period models whether associations are similar at different life course stages; and whether health behaviours explain the associations.

    Methods: A total of 476 women and 517 men participated in this 27-year prospective cohort study (participation rate 93%). Body mass index was assessed at the age of 16 and 43 years and self-reported at the age of 21 and 30 years. Information on socio-economic status by own or parental (age 16 years) occupation, smoking, snuff, alcohol, physical activity and diet was collected at each age.

    Results: In women, cumulative socio-economic status and socio-economic status in adolescence were related to body mass index at the age of 16, 21, 30 and 43 years and to the 27-year change in body mass, independently of health behaviours and for adolescent socio-economic status also of later socio-economic attainment. Associations were generally stronger for body mass at older age. In men, associations were mostly non-significant, although health behaviours contributed strongly to body mass.

    Conclusions: In women, both the sensitive period (in adolescence) and cumulative risk models explain the socio-economic–body mass link. Efforts to reduce the social inequality in body mass in women should be directed at the early life course, but focusing on unhealthy behaviours might not be a sufficient approach.

  • 46.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    When does hardship matter for health? Neighborhood and individual disadvantages and functional somatic symptoms from adolescence to mid-life in the Northern Swedish Cohort.2014In: PLOS ONE, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 6, p. e99558-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A large body of research has shown that health is influenced by disadvantaged living conditions, including both personal and neighborhood conditions. Little is however known to what degree the health impact of different forms of disadvantage differ along the life course. The present study aims to examine when, during the life course, neighborhood and individual disadvantages relate to functional somatic symptoms. Participants (n = 992) came from The Northern Swedish Cohort and followed from age 16, 21, 30 until 42 years. Functional somatic symptoms, socioeconomic disadvantage, and social and material adversity were measured through questionnaires and linked to register data on neighborhood disadvantage. Data was analyzed with longitudinal and cross-sectional multilevel models. Results showed that neighborhood disadvantage, social and material adversity and gender all contributed independently to overall levels of symptoms across the life course. Cross-sectional analyses also suggested that the impact of disadvantage differed between life course periods; neighborhood disadvantage was most important in young adulthood, and the relative importance of material versus social adversity increased as participants grew older. In summary, the study suggests that disadvantages from different contextual sources may affect functional somatic health across the life course, but also through life course specific patterns.

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  • 47.
    Gustafsson, Per E
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Fonseca Rodriguez, Osvaldo
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Microbiology.
    Connolly-Andersen, Anne-Marie
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Microbiology.
    Inequitable impact of infection: social gradients in severe COVID-19 outcomes among all confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases during the first pandemic wave in Sweden.2022In: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, ISSN 0143-005X, E-ISSN 1470-2738, Vol. 76, no 3, p. 261-267Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BACKGROUND: The backdrop of the ubiquitous social inequalities has increasingly come into foreground in research on the COVID-19 pandemic, but the lack of high-quality population-based studies limits our understanding of the inequitable outcomes of the disease. The present study seeks to estimate social gradients in COVID-19 hospitalisations, intensive care admissions and death by education, income and country of birth, while taking into account disparities in comorbidities.

    METHODS: We used a register-based retrospective open cohort design enrolling all 74 659 confirmed SARS-CoV-2-positive cases aged >25 years in Sweden during the first wave of the pandemic (until 14 September 2020). Information was retrieved from multiple registers and linked by the unique Swedish personal identity number concerning COVID-19 case identification; COVID-19 hospitalisations, intensive care admissions and death; comorbidities as measured by the Charlson Comorbidity Index; and sociodemographic information. Social gradients were estimated by the Relative Index of Inequality (RII) using Cox regression.

    RESULTS: Adjusted analyses showed significant social gradients in COVID-19 hospitalisation, intensive care admission, across education, income and country of birth, which were unaffected by adjustment for comorbidities. Education and country of birth gradients were stronger for hospitalisation and intensive care admissions but small to non-existent for death. In contrast, income gradients were consistent across all three COVID-19 outcomes.

    CONCLUSION: Social gradients in severe COVID-19 outcomes are widespread in Sweden, but appear to be unrelated to pre-existing health disparities. Inequitable outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection may therefore be at least partially avoidable and could rely on equitable management of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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  • 48.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Janlert, Urban
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Theorell, Töres
    Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Westerlund, Hugo
    Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Life-course accumulation of neighborhood disadvantage and allostatic load: empirical integration of three social determinants of health frameworks2014In: American Journal of Public Health, ISSN 0090-0036, E-ISSN 1541-0048, Vol. 104, no 5, p. 904-910Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    OBJECTIVES: We examined if the accumulation of neighborhood disadvantages from adolescence to mid-adulthood were related to allostatic load, a measure of cumulative biological risk, in mid-adulthood, and explored whether this association was similar in women and men.

    METHODS: Data were from the participants in the Northern Swedish Cohort (analytical n = 818) at ages 16, 21, 30, and 43 years in 1981, 1986, 1995, and 2008. Personal living conditions were self-reported at each wave. At age 43 years, 12 biological markers were measured to operationalize allostatic load. Registered data for all residents in the cohort participants' neighborhoods at each wave were used to construct a cumulative measure of neighborhood disadvantage. Associations were examined in ordinary least-squares regression models.

    RESULTS: We found that cumulative neighborhood disadvantage between ages 16 and 43 years was related to higher allostatic load at age 43 years after adjusting for personal living conditions in the total sample (B = 0.11; P = .004) and in men (B = 0.16; P = .004), but not in women (B = 0.07; P = .248).

    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggested that neighborhood disadvantage acted cumulatively over the life course on biological wear and tear, and exemplified the gains of integrating social determinants of health frameworks.

  • 49.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    San Sebastian, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Janlert, Urban
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Theorell, Töres
    Westerlund, Hugo
    Hammarström, Anne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
    Residential Selection across the Life Course: Adolescent Contextual and Individual Determinants of Neighborhood Disadvantage in Mid-Adulthood.2013In: PLOS ONE, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 8, no 11, article id e80241Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BACKGROUND: Numerous cross-sectional studies have examined neighborhood effects on health. Residential selection in adulthood has been stressed as an important cause of selection bias but has received little empirical attention, particularly its determinants from the earlier life course. The present study aims to examine whether neighborhood, family, school, health behaviors and health in adolescence are related to socioeconomic disadvantage of one's neighborhood of residence in adulthood.

    METHODS: Based on the prospective Northern Swedish Cohort (analytical N = 971, 90.6% retention rate), information was collected at age 16 years concerning family circumstances, school adjustment, health behaviors and mental and physical health. Neighborhood register data was linked to the cohort and used to operationalize aggregated measures of neighborhood disadvantage (ND) at age 16 and 42. Data was analyzed with linear mixed models, with ND in adulthood regressed on adolescent predictors and neighborhood of residence in adolescence as the level-2 unit.

    RESULTS: Neighborhood disadvantage in adulthood was clustered by neighborhood of residence in adolescence (ICC = 8.6%). The clustering was completely explained by ND in adolescence. Of the adolescent predictors, ND (b = .14 (95% credible interval = .07-.22)), final school marks (b = -.18 (-.26--.10)), socioeconomic disadvantage (b = .07 (.01-.14)), and, with borderline significance, school peer problems (b = .07 (-.00-.13)), were independently related to adulthood ND in the final adjusted model. In sex-stratified analyses, the most important predictors were school marks (b = -.21 (-.32--.09)) in women, and neighborhood of residence (ICC = 15.5%) and ND (b = .20 (.09-.31)) in men.

    CONCLUSIONS: These findings show that factors from adolescence - which also may impact on adult health - could influence the neighborhood context in which one will live in adulthood. This indicates that residential selection bias in neighborhood effects on health research may have its sources in early life.

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  • 50.
    Gustafsson, Per E.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Schröders, Julia
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Nilsson, Ingeborg
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Section of Occupational Therapy.
    San Sebastián, Miguel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Surviving through solitude: A prospective national study of the impact of the early COVID-19 pandemic and a visiting ban on loneliness among nursing home residents in Sweden2022In: The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, ISSN 1079-5014, E-ISSN 1758-5368, Vol. 77, no 12, p. 2286-2295Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objectives: Targeted social distancing measures were widely implemented for nursing home residents when the extremely high coronavirus disease 2019 mortality in this setting became apparent. However, there is still scarce rigorous research examining how the pandemic and accompanying social distancing measures affected loneliness in this group. This prospective nationwide Swedish study of nursing home residents aimed to examine the impact on loneliness of the early phase of the pandemic and of a national visiting ban at nursing homes.

    Methods: A panel was selected from a total population survey of all nursing home residents in Sweden March–May 2019 and 2020 (N = 11,782; age range 70–110 years; mean age 88.2 years; 71% women). Prospective pretest–posttest and controlled interrupted time series (ITS) designs were employed, with time trends estimated by date of returned questionnaire. Generalized linear models were used for estimation of effects, adjusting for demographic-, survey-, and health-related covariates.

    Results: Loneliness prevalence increased from 17% to 19% from 2019 to 2020 (risk ratio, RR (95% confidence interval, CI) = 1.104 (1.060; 1.150)), but which was explained by self-reported health (RR (95% CI) = 1.023 (0.982; 1.066)). No additional impact of the visiting ban on loneliness trends was found in the ITS analyses (RR (95% CI) = 0.984 (0.961; 1.008)).

    Discussion: The moderate but health-dependent increased risk of loneliness, and the lack of impact of the nationwide visiting ban at nursing homes, suggests that this ostensibly vulnerable group of nursing home residents also shows signs of resilience, at least during the early phase of the pandemic.

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