Project description

From the day a child is born, she is imbedded in a network of social relationships that shape how she thinks, acts, and feels. Some children get off to a good start by being born to parents with higher positions in society who can help them navigate through life, achieving higher positions for themselves. Others are born to less fortunate parents, whose lack of resources may set them on a less privileged journey. Yet, parents are not the only source of influence during childhood. There are socialization agents also within the child’s generation, such as siblings and friends. Although siblings share genes and their home environment, they often adopt different roles within the family during upbringing which makes them dissimilar, while friends, who also spend a lot of time together, have different parents but are generally selected based on similarity. The simultaneous study of parallel developmental paths among siblings and friends and their role for the reproduction of inequality has, to our knowledge, never been embarked upon before. The aim of this research programme is to examine how social, economic, and health inequalities in the parental generation re-emerges in the next-coming generations of children and grandchildren, and the extent to which siblings and friends may explain or counteract these processes. Drawing upon recent advances in the solicitation of statistical models for life-course data, this programme outlines a unique empirical framework based on a Swedish longitudinal cohort study of 14,294 individuals born in 1953 as well as their parents, siblings, friends, and children.

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Brief description in Swedish

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The RELINK team

Programme management  
Bitte Modin, Professor (PI) CHESS
Ylva B Almquist, Associate Professor (PI) CHESS
Team members  
Susanne Alm, Associate Professor SOFI
Olof Bäckman, Associate Professor SOFI
Jenny Eklund, PhD CHESS
Alessandra Grotta, PhD CHESS
Robin Högnäs, PhD CHESS
Josephine Jackisch, Doctoral student CHESS
Jannike Kjellström, Research assistant CHESS
Lena Lindahl, Associate Professor
Viveca Östberg, Professor CHESS
Cecilia von Otter, PhD SOFI
Yerko Rojas, PhD SOFI
Sten-Åke Stenberg, Professor SOFI
Denny Vågerö, Professor CHESS


Start-up meeting with a majority of the team members of  RELINK. February 8 2017. Photo: Susanne Alm.
Start-up meeting with a majority of the team members of RELINK. February 8 2017. Photo: Susanne Alm.