Bitte Modin is a professor of medical sociology at the Department of Public Health Sciences and the Director of CHESS, Centre for Health Equity Studies. Common to practically all of her research is the focus on childhood social disadvantage and its implications for people’s present and future health, as well as the ambition to identify the pathways through which such influences operate. Early experiences and exposures may stem from the larger social environment as well as from the family’s or the child’s own social standing within the various contexts of social life.
In today’s society, the path to a successful socio-economic career and its health-related advantages usually goes via the educational system. Therefore, an issue that often recurs in her research is the role of educational opportunities, either as an outcome in its own right, or as a potential mediator or modifier in the studied relationship. Social support and individual coping strategies are other examples of conditions that can “buffer” against childhood adversity translating into health problems, and constitute additional aspects that permeate her research.
Bitte’s scientific interest can be divided into two broad lines of orientations. The first is concerned with how social inequalities in health are transferred and maintained across family lineages spanning several generations, and the second focuses on how different features of the school context shape and modify present-day youth’s level of stress and mental well-being.
Currently, she is also Director of Doctoral Studies in Public Health.
A selection from Stockholm University publication database
Pathways from Childhood Economic Conditions to Adult Mortality in a 1953 Stockholm Cohort: The Intermediate Role of Personal Attributes and Socioeconomic Career
2022. Klara Gurzo (et al.). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19 (12)Article
Although both childhood and adult economic conditions have been found to be associated with mortality, independently or in combination with each other, less is known about the role of intermediate factors between these two life stages. This study explores the pathways between childhood economic conditions and adult mortality by taking personal attributes as well as adult socioeconomic career into consideration. Further, we investigate the role of intergenerational income mobility for adult mortality. We used data from a prospective cohort study of individuals that were born in 1953 and residing in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1963 who were followed for mortality between 2002 and 2021 (n = 11,325). We fit Cox proportional hazards models to assess the association of parental income, cognitive ability, social skills, educational attainment, occupational status, and adult income with mortality. The income mobility is operationalized as the interaction between parental and adult income. Our results show that the association between parental income and adult mortality is modest and largely operates through cognitive ability and adult educational attainment. However, our results do not provide support for there being an effect of intergenerational income mobility on adult mortality. In a Swedish cohort who grew up in a comparatively egalitarian society during the 1950s and 1960s, childhood economic conditions were found to play a distinct but relatively small role for later mortality.
School Contextual Features of Social Disorder and Mental Health Complaints—A Multilevel Analysis of Swedish Sixth-Grade Students
2018. Bitte Modin (et al.). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15 (1)Article
This study addressed school-contextual features of social disorder in relation to sixth-grade students' experiences of bullying victimization and mental health complaints. It investigated, firstly, whether the school's concentrations of behavioural problems were associated with individual students' likelihood of being bullied, and secondly, whether the school's concentrations of behavioural problems and bullying victimization predicted students' emotional and psychosomatic health complaints. The data were derived from the Swedish National Survey of Mental Health among Children and Young People, carried out among sixth-grade students (approximately 12-13 years old) in Sweden in 2009. The analyses were based on information from 59,510 students distributed across 1999 schools. The statistical method used was multilevel modelling. While students' own behavioural problems were associated with an elevated risk of being bullied, attending a school with a higher concentration of students with behavioural problems also increased the likelihood of being bullied. Attending a school with higher levels of bullying victimization and behavioural problems predicted more emotional and psychosomatic complaints, even when adjusting for their individual level analogues. The findings indicate that school-level features of social disorder influence bullying victimization and mental health complaints among students.
Teacher Rated School Ethos and Student Reported Bullying—A Multilevel Study of Upper Secondary Schools in Stockholm, Sweden
2017. Bitte Modin, Sara Brolin Låftman, Viveca Östberg. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14 (12)Article
School ethos refers to the school leadership’s purposive efforts to shape and direct the attitudes, values and behaviors needed in order to promote an active learning environment and to prevent the emergence of undesirable behaviors by creating shared meaning and common goals for the school. The aim of this study was to examine how teacher rated aspects of school ethos are linked with manifestations of bullying among 11th grade students. Five teacher-rated sub-dimensions of school ethos (staff stability, teacher morale, structure-order, student focus, and academic atmosphere) were examined in relation to student-reported perpetration of and exposure to traditional school bullying and cyberbullying. The data material combines student and teacher information from two separate data collections performed in 2016, comprising teachers and students in 58 upper secondary schools in Stockholm. Analyses showed that bullying was associated with all but one of the five sub-dimensions of school ethos, namely structure and order for dealing with bullying behaviors at the school. Results are discussed in light of this counter-intuitive finding. Our findings nevertheless lend support to the idea that the social organization of schools, as reflected in their teacher-rated ethos, can affect individual students’ attitudes in a way that prevents the emergence of bullying behavior among students.
Show all publications by Bitte Modin at Stockholm University