Social Influence Processes on Adolescent Health
Research projects

Current Projects

An overview of current research projects at SIPA

Main content

LONGTRENDS: Social inequality in mental health amongst adolescents

Principal Investigator: Helga Bjørnøy Urke

LONGTRENDS is a research project at the University of Bergen that aims to increase the understanding of social inequalities in mental health in a life course perspective, with a focus on adolescence. Using four different data sources from the HEMIL Institute and the Department of Social Psychology at the University of Bergen, we will map societal trends in mental health and the importance of a number of social factors for the development of mental health.

A worrying number of children, adolescents and young adults develop mental health problems. There are especially many vulnerable people among those who grow up in low-income families or where the parents have a lower education, which is often referred to as social inequality in mental health. Material factors, psychosocial conditions and behavioral patterns in childhood help to establish guidelines for health, living conditions and participation in society later in life. Some children and young people may be vulnerable to transitions and life events such as changing schools, moving away from home, or their parents divorcing. For a number of children and adolescents, such incidents result in the loss of social support, networks and fewer financial resources. Some also develop behavioral patterns that may pose a health risk. Conclusively, transitions and life events can contribute to reinforcing social inequalities in health.

The aim of the project is to increase the understanding of social inequalities in mental health in a life course perspective. We will map societal trends in mental health among young people with different socio-economic backgrounds and examine the role that factors such as social support, family structure, gender, and major life events and transitions play in these contexts. We also want to develop more precise methods for measuring young people’s socio-economic status. To achieve these goals, we will use data from four studies of Norwegian youth and their parents, conducted in the period from 1980-2020. The studies allow us to follow the participants’ development from childhood and into higher education and working life, and also to examine how social background is related to mental health in different time periods.

The project is funded by The Research Council of Norway and is a collaboration between the HEMIL Institute, the Department of Social Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology, the University of Bergen, the University of Glasgow and the Universidade de Lisboa.

Junior-researcher: A Youth Participatory Action Project (YPAR)

Principal Investigator: Ingrid Holsen

‘Junior-researcher’ is an empowering program promoting youth voices and a positive psychosocial learning climate in schools. Concretely, Junior-researcher aims at providing youth with skills into conducting research and presenting findings that provide insight into issues experienced by young people themselves. The project is developed based on an YPAR project at the University of California, Berkeley, and later modified and developed further by Reidun Braut Kjosås, Anita Finne (Kvam herad), Ingrid Holsen (University of Bergen) and teachers and pupils at junior high schools. A pilot using a mixed method design will be conducted in six 9th grade classes during fall 2020. Website: www.juniorforskar.no

CO-CREATE: Confronting obesity: Co-creating policy with youth

Work package leader: Professor Oddrun Samdal

The CO-CREATE study aims to prevent overweight and obesity in adolescents by providing knowledge and infrastructure on policies to support making the healthiest choices the preferred ones. A consortium of 14 international research and advocacy organisations will work togehter with youth in order to adress the aims. The project is lead by Norwegian Institute of Public Health. HEMIL-senteret is responsible for one of the work packages. Link to web page

HBSC project: Health Behaviour in School-aged Children

Principal Investigator: Professor Oddrun Samdal

Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) is a cross-national research study conducted in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The study aims to gain new insight into, and increase our understanding of young people's health and well-being, health behaviours and their social context. HBSC was initiated in 1982 by researchers from three countries, and Norway was one of them. There are now 41 participating countries and regions.

The Research Centre for Health Promotion at the University of Bergen is responsible for the Norwegian study. Since 1983 data have been collected every four years among 11, 13 and 15 year olds and since 1994 also among 16 year olds. The most recent survey was conducted in 2005 and addressed adolescents' health behaviours, health perceptions, leisure time activities and school perceptions. More information on the international HBSC study, including reference to international reports from each survey and a list of all publications, can be found at: www.hbsc.org

The Norwegian Longitudinal Health Behaviour study (NLHBS)

Principal Investigator: Professor Bente Wold

The main aims of the study are to examine tracking of health behaviours and subjective health during the life period from 13 to 40, and to analyse how social influence processes during adolescence may predict subjective health and lifestyle in adulthood.

This unique study started in 1990 among approximately 900 thirteen-year-olds and their parents in Hordaland county. Surveys among the adolescents have been conducted 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2007 and 2017. Parents have participated in 1990, 1993 and 1996.

The Positive Youth Development cross-national project

Principal Investigator: Nora Wiium

The Positive Youth Development cross-national project seeks to examine the extent to which developmental assets are available and accessible to the youth and emerging adults in different national contexts, and how these assets in turn relate to thriving and positive outcomes such as the “5Cs” of PYD (i.e., Confidence, Competence, Character, Caring and Connection), and subsequently, to young people’s contribution to the development of self and the society they are part of.