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The Social Gradient in Mental Health

A Long-Term Longitudinal Study Integrating Survey Data, Register Data, and Molecular Genetic Data

About the project

The project will examine (a) how social gradients in mental health develop from adolescence into middle adulthood; (b) how polygenic risk for mental health problems is related to social marginalization; (c) how socio-economic status and social marginalization interact with genetic risk in predicting mental health problems, and (d) how social gradients vary according to societal contexts.

The project utilizes data from a large scale, longitudinal study (Young in Norway Longitudinal), spanning from adolescence over 28 years and which combines survey, register, and molecular genetic data (N=2,600). Moreover, two other large-scale representative samples of Norwegian adolescents are used to examine geographical variations in social gradients and how gradients change across time.


Growth curve analyses will be used to model trajectories of mental health problems and to examine how social marginalization is related to such trajectories. Polygenic risk scores are constructed to examine how social marginalization interacts with genetic risk. Multilevel analyses will be conducted to examine how social gradients vary according to societal contexts.

By using a unique combination of different high quality data sources, this project will provide important novel knowledge about the nature of social disparities in mental health problems.


The project will be based at the newly established Research Center PROMENTA at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, in close collaboration with several national and international researchers. A user-perspective is established by collaborating with among others the Norwegian part of the WHO Healthy Cities Network "Sunne kommuner" and by consulting a reference group.


The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway (BEDREHELSE Researcher Project), 2020 - 2025.

Published Mar. 22, 2021 10:58 AM - Last modified Dec. 21, 2021 9:24 PM