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Basic information

Manager: Johan Fritzell
Period: 2009-01-01 – 2012-12-31
Funded by: The Swedish Research Council (VR)
Project members: Mikael Rostila (CHESS), Maria Kölegård (CHESS), Nicholas Christakis (Harvard University), Antonio Ponce de Leon (University of Rio de Janeiro State, IMS; Karolinska Institutet, Department of Public Health Sciences), P-O Östergren (Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Lund University), Jennie Bacchus Hertzman (CHESS)

Description of the project

The aim of our project is to study health differentials between natives and migrant categories and to test two interrelated mechanisms behind these disparities. We will first make a thorough description of the mortality differentials between natives and migrant categories in Sweden, scrutinizing differences in different migrant groups and by causes-of-death. The two interrelated mechanisms that will be in focus are segregation and social networks. Sweden has experienced an increase of both socioeconomic and ethnic segregation and although fears of increasing segregation are common, our knowledge about its consequences is sparse. With the help of a population register data and a contextual database we will be able to link area- and individual-level characteristics, and examine if the ethnic composition in neighbourhoods matters, or if all health differences between areas are due to the fact that individuals have different resources and are therefore selected to different neighbourhoods.

Ethnicity might also affect health via network processes, partly evolving as a consequence of segregation. The tendency that people form relationships with those who are similar to themselves with regard to social characteristics is called homophily. Homogenous networks on the basis of ethnicity may create the strongest divides of our personal networks. The dark side of such networks is that they might reinforce poor socioeconomic conditions and unhealthy behaviours. We will study to what extent ethnically homogenous networks associate with health related behaviour and self-perceived health status.