University of Gothenburg

Social medicine

How do social factors and living conditions affect our health and risk of falling ill later in life? What are the repercussions of high-risk substance use on mental and physical health? These are two questions our researchers are seeking to answer.

Our research areas

  • Mental and physical health in a lifecourse perspective
  • High-risk substance use and abuse, and physical and mental health
  • Migration and health
  • Gender, equality and health

Risk and health factors for wellness and illness throughout life

There is growing evidence that chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, are not due solely to determinants in middle age. Factors that have accumulated since an early age also play a part, and these determinants also interact with each other. A broader perspective, taking risk and health factors into account (a “lifecourse approach”), is therefore important. We apply this approach in our research, and also study the interplay between mental and physical health in lifecourse terms.

High-risk use and abuse, and mental health

One aim of our research is to answer questions about social and psychological causes of high-risk alcohol use and abuse. A key question is how alcohol dependence and mental ill health are linked. Several studies explore social and psychological causes of mental health problems. We also investigate the health and social consequences in adulthood of having experienced some type of assault and/or neglect during childhood and adolescence. Other studies have focused on how alcohol use, sick leave and working life are connected.

Health equality

Migration, a growing global phenomenon with massive health effects, is regarded by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the biggest health issues of the present day, and set to remain so in the future. Broad in terms of issues and methods alike, this area includes themes like mental health, socioeconomic causes of health and ill health, trauma, integration and cultural encounters in health care. Gender inequality at work and in living conditions, too, leads to health disparities. This is a substantial public health problem with major repercussions on individuals and society alike. Our researchers seek new knowledge of these and other factors with damaging effects on certain groups and individuals, thereby subjecting them to risks of marginalisation.

Close connection between research and education

There is close cooperation between the Institute’s research and our education and training, in which many of our researchers too are involved. They supervise doctoral students and teach on our regular programmes, freestanding courses and vocational care programmes within Sahlgrenska Academy.

Read more about our education