Research on health equity and working life with support from Carl Bennet AB

21 December 2021

The research group HEAL

The research group HEAL

The research group Health Equity and Working Life (HEAL), at the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, focuses on the understanding of how health equity can be achieved, with a primary focus on working life.

Docent Anna Nyberg leads the group, which researches, among other things, the health effects of the gender-segregated labour market and the effects of occupational rehabilitation initiatives for individuals with short- and long-term illnesses. They also conduct research on people with various cognitive and intellectual disabilities and their health-related living conditions.

During 2020 and 2021, the research has been developed and strengthened with support from Carl Bennet AB. HEAL is currently working intensively on six projects on health in working life and work-oriented rehabilitation.

Work environment and health in organisations in case of epidemics and pandemics caused by the coronavirus

A report will soon be released at the Swedish Agency for Work Environment Expertise, in which work environment, related measures and health at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic are highlighted in a systematic review of quantitative and qualitative studies. At the beginning of 2020, several studies came from large parts of the world that examined, in particular, how employees in health and medical care viewed their work environment and health. The report highlights the relationship between, above all, factors in the psychosocial work environment and mental illness. The project leader is Docent Anna Nyberg.

Social status and mental illness among young women in a gender-segregated labour market

A qualitative and a quantitative study has started in a project that focuses on young working women, a group where mental illness and sick leave are high. In four different sub-studies, the project will investigate how work-related factors, social status and social media affect the mental health of young working women. Data are collected through interviews and from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH), a cohort representing the Swedish working population. The financier is AFA Försäkring. Docent Anna Nyberg leads the project with, among others, Ylva Lindberg.

Gender-based harassment and vulnerability in Swedish workplaces: connections between mental illnesses in survey and register data

The project is currently conducting three studies that shed light on

  1. Connections between gender harassment and self-reported depression and undergoing psychological treatment
  2. Connections between gender harassment and factors in the workplace, such as fair decision-making and clear leadership
  3. Connections between gender-based and sexual harassment and the withdrawal of psychotropic drugs

The project uses data from the Swedish Work Environment Surveys, the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH), and Swedish registers. The funder is the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE). Docent Anna Nyberg leads the project with, among others, Johan Paulin and Katrina Blindow.

The significance of a rehabilitation coordinator in specialist healthcare for reduced sick leave and for returning to or starting work or studies

More and more people are on sick leave due to mental illnesses. The project aims to investigate whether introducing a rehabilitation coordinator in specialist psychiatry affects sick leave and the return to or commencement of work or studies. The target group is patients treated for affective or anxiety disorders. Patients are followed up with questionnaires and via registers. Through interviews, it is studied how healthcare professionals and patients experience access to a rehabilitation coordinator. Funder is the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE). The project leader is Åsa Andersén, PhD.

Long-term effects of multi-professional working life rehabilitation

Between 2010 and 2012, a randomised controlled intervention study, called VITALIS, was conducted. The purpose was to improve health and increase the return to work for people on long-term sick leave in Uppsala. A long-term follow-up of the participant group is now being carried out to investigate (possible) long-term effects of the efforts in the project. The ambition is also to make a health-economic evaluation of the results. The project will use data from the baseline, the efforts made and follow-up data from various register holders. The follow-up data mainly consists of information about income and associated activities as well as self-assessed health outcomes. The study is funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE). Contact is Erik Berglund, PhD.

Long-term follow-up of previous work-oriented initiatives for young adults with disabilities

In 2012–2014, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, the Swedish Public Employment Service, and the municipality of Uppsala carried out the project Youth Mobilisation for Working Life, UMiA, aimed at unemployed young adults aged 19–29, with disabilities. The purpose was to promote entry to work or studies. Young people with disabilities find it more difficult to establish themselves in the labour market than young people without disabilities. A long-term follow-up is currently underway to investigate possible long-term effects of the project regarding labour market affiliation. The follow-up is done with data from registers with information on employment and form of compensation. The study is funded through means from Skandia. Contact is Åsa Andersén, PhD.