Profiles

Sara Brolin Låftman

Sara Brolin Låftman

Researcher

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Public Health Sciences
Telephone 08-674 79 87
Email sara.brolin.laftman@su.se
Visiting address Sveavägen 160, Sveaplan
Room A 560
Postal address Institutionen för folkhälsovetenskap 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I work at the Department of Public Health Sciences (formely Centre for Health Equity Studies, CHESS) since 2010. I defended my PhD in Sociology in 2010 and was appointed Associate Professor in 2018. Since 2018, I work as a senior lecturer in Public Health Sciences.

Teaching

Together with Viveca Östberg I am responsible for the basic level course Familj, skola och psykisk hälsa bland barn och unga (7.5 credits). I also supervise advanced-level students.

I am deputy Director of Studies in Public Health Sciences and coordinator for the Bachelor's Programme in Education and Public Health Sciences (180 credits)

Research

My main research interests revolve around children’s and young people’s living conditions with a particular focus on family conditions, the school as a work environment, and the school as a social arena, and how these (partly overlapping) themes are related to adolescent health outcomes. 

I am currently involved in two research projects:

  • Health behaviour in school-aged children: Individual and contextual connections to mental (ill-)health within the school environment. Principal investigator: Sara Brolin Låftman. Financed by the Public Health Agency of Sweden.
  • Stressors, stress and health complaints in adolescent girls and boys. Principal investigator: Viveca Östberg. Financed by Forte.

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Susanne Alm (et al.). Journal of Adolescence 70, 62-73

    Introduction

    Future orientation (FO) refers to individuals' beliefs and feelings about their future. Earlier research has primarily investigated correlates of FO at the individual and family level, but it seems likely that FO is also shaped by other central agents or institutions, such as the school. Earlier studies have found positive associations between “school effectiveness” and student performance, and negative associations in relation to e.g., bullying, delinquency, and health risk behaviors. The current study investigated three teacher-reported features of school effectiveness - school leadership, teacher cooperation and consensus, and school ethos - and their links with student-reported FO.

    Methods

    Survey data were collected in 2016 among 5131 students (aged 17–18 years) and 1061 teachers in 46 upper secondary schools in Stockholm, Sweden, and merged with school-level register data. Two-level binary logistic regression analyses were performed.

    Results

    The analyses showed that higher teacher ratings of school leadership and school ethos were associated with a greater likelihood of reporting an optimistic FO among students. Teacher cooperation and consensus was however not associated with students' FO.

    Conclusion

    The findings indicate that the school environment contributes to shaping students' beliefs about their future. Thus, enhancing features of school effectiveness may be a way of promoting a positive development and brighter objective future prospects for the young, via pathways such as good student-teacher relations and academic motivation and achievement.

  • 2019. Sara Brolin Låftman (et al.). International Journal of Adolescence and Youth

    The aim of this study was to analyze the association between adolescents’ future orientation and their engagement in gambling and in risk gambling, respectively. The data used come from the Stockholm School Survey, collected in 2016 among students in the ninth grade in elementary school (15–16 years) and in the second grade of upper secondary school (17–18 years) in Stockholm municipality (n = 11,661). The results showed that adolescents who expected their future to be ‘much worse’ than that of others were more inclined to engage in gambling and in risk gambling compared with adolescents who expected their future to be similar to that of others. Furthermore, adolescents who expected their future to be ‘much better’ than that of others had an increased likelihood of engaging in gambling but not in risk gambling. The results are discussed in the light of elements from rational choice theory.

  • 2019. Joacim Ramberg (et al.). Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research

    Stress and stress-related complaints such as fatigue and depressed mood are common among teachers. Yet, knowledge about the links between the overall level of teacher stress within a school and individual student outcomes is scarce. This study investigates if the levels of teacher-reported stress, fatigue and depressed mood within a school are associated with students’ ratings of their school satisfaction and perceived teacher caring, respectively. Data derives from two separate data collections performed in upper secondary schools in 2016, the Stockholm School Survey (SSS) and the Stockholm Teacher Survey (STS), which were linked together (5367 students and 1045 teachers in 46 schools). Two-level linear regression analyses were performed. Results showed negative associations between school-level teacher stress, fatigue, and depressed mood and students’ school satisfaction and perceived teacher caring, even when controlling for student- and school-level sociodemographic characteristics. The findings suggest that teacher stress may have negative implications for students.

  • 2019. Susanne Alm, Sara Brolin Låftman, Hannes Bohman. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16 (10)

    Poor family relationships during childhood have been shown to have long-term negative effects on an offspring’s health. However, few studies have followed the offspring to retirement age, and relatedly, knowledge about the link between poor family relationships and premature death is scarce. The aim of this study was to examine the association between poor family relationships in adolescence and the risk of premature death, even when considering other adverse childhood conditions. Prospective data from the Stockholm Birth Cohort study were used, with 2636 individuals born in 1953 who were followed up until age 65. Information on family relations was based on interviews with the participants’ mothers in 1968. Information on mortality was retrieved from administrative register data from 1969–2018. Cox proportional hazards regressions showed that poor family relationships in adolescence were associated with an increased risk of premature death, even when adjusting for childhood conditions in terms of household social class, household economic poverty, contact with the child services, parental alcohol abuse, and parental mental illness (Hazard Ratio (HR), 2.08, 95% Confidence Interval (CI), 1.40–3.09). The findings show that poor family relationships in adolescence can have severe and long-lasting health consequences, highlighting the importance of early interventions.

  • 2019. Charlotta Magnusson, Sara Brolin Loftman. Children and youth services review 101, 174-180

    Many studies have reported a negative association between mental health problems and school performance and some studies have shown long-term negative consequences of such health problems, especially in relation to education. However, less is known about the link between different types of self-reported mental health problems in adolescence and occupational prestige in young adulthood.

    Using prospective survey data collected among 10–18-year-olds who were followed up after ten years (n = 605), the present study investigated, firstly, whether different types of self-reported mental health problems in adolescence – i.e., psychological and psychosomatic complaints, aggression and concentration difficulties – were associated with occupational prestige in young adulthood even after adjusting for childhood socioeconomic conditions; secondly, whether any such associations were partly or fully accounted for by differences in school performance; and thirdly, whether any associations between self-related mental health problems and occupational prestige varied by gender.

    Linear (OLS) regression analyses showed that self-reported concentration difficulties in adolescence were negatively associated with occupational prestige ten years later among both men and women. Aggression in adolescence was also negatively associated with later occupational prestige, but this association was accounted for by concentration difficulties. Psychological and psychosomatic complaints in adolescence were not however associated with occupational prestige in young adulthood. For both men and women, the association between concentration difficulties and occupational prestige was fully accounted for by differences in school grades.

    The findings indicate that self-reported concentration difficulties in adolescence have implications for individuals' occupational prestige in young adulthood among men and women alike. The association could be understood to be mediated by differences in school performance. Thus, to offer adolescents more equal chances of reaching high positions in the labor market, irrespective of their mental health status, it is important to provide adequate support during schooling.

  • 2018. Hannes Bohman (et al.). Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 12

    Background: Somatic symptoms are common and costly for society and correlate with suffering and low functioning. Nevertheless, little is known about the long-term implications of somatic symptoms. The objective of this study was to assess if somatic symptoms in adolescents with depression and in their matched controls predict severe mental illness in adulthood by investigating the use of hospital-based care consequent to different mental disorders. Methods: The entire school population of 16-17-year-olds in the city of Uppsala, Sweden, was screened for depression in 1991-1993 (n = 2300). Adolescents with positive screenings (n = 307) and matched non-depressed controls (n = 302) participated in a semi-structured diagnostic interview for mental disorders. In addition, 21 different self-rated somatic symptoms were assessed. The adolescents with depression and the matched non-depressed controls were engaged in follow-up through the National Patient Register 17-19 years after the baseline study (n = 375). The outcome measures covered hospital-based mental health care for different mental disorders according to ICD-10 criteria between the participants' ages of 18 and 35 years. Results: Somatic symptoms were associated with an increased risk of later hospital-based mental health care in general in a dose-response relationship when adjusting for sex, adolescent depression, and adolescent anxiety (1 symptom: OR = 1.63, CI 0.55-4.85; 2-4 symptoms: OR = 2.77, 95% CI 1.04-7.39; >= 5 symptoms: OR = 5.75, 95% CI 1.98-16.72). With regards to specific diagnoses, somatic symptoms predicted hospital-based care for mood disorders when adjusting for sex, adolescent depression, and adolescent anxiety (p<0.05). In adolescents with depression, somatic symptoms predicted later hospital-based mental health care in a dose-response relationship (p<0.01). In adolescents without depression, reporting at least one somatic symptom predicted later hospital-based mental health care (p<0.05). Conclusions: Somatic symptoms in adolescence predicted severe adult mental illness as measured by hospital-based care also when controlled for important confounders. The results suggest that adolescents with somatic symptoms need early treatment and extended follow-up to treat these specific symptoms, regardless of co-occurring depression and anxiety.

  • 2018. Maria Granvik Saminathen (et al.). School Effectiveness and School Improvement

    This study examines whether 3 teacher-rated aspects of school effectiveness differ across school segregation profiles in Stockholm, and to what extent these indicators are associated with the academic achievement of 9th-grade students. Analyses were based on 2 cross-sectional data collections performed in 2014 and 2016, respectively (147 school units), one among teachers (= 2,024) and the other among 9th-grade students (= 9,151). Multilevel analysis was applied, estimating 2-level random intercept linear regression models. Results show that teachers’ ratings of school leadership, teacher cooperation, and school ethos, as well as student-reported marks differ across school segregation profiles. Findings further reveal significant associations between these school effectiveness indicators and student performance, even when taking student family background and the school’s student body composition into consideration. In part, these associations are also identified within segregation profiles. Moreover, results show that school ethos acts as a mediator between school segregation profile and student achievement.

  • 2018. Viveca Östberg (et al.). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15 (10)

    Stress, and stress-related health complaints, are common among young people, especially girls. Since studies have shown that school demands are an important driver of stress in adolescents, identifying if school-based resources can protect against stress is highly relevant. The aim of this study was to analyse task-related demands and task-related coping resources as aspects of the school work environment of potential relevance for stress in mid-adolescent girls and boys. The data came from “The School Stress and Support study” (TriSSS) conducted among students in grades 8 and 9 (aged 14–16 years). Self-reports of demands, coping resources, stress, as well as recurrent pain, were collected through questionnaires (n = 411). A subsample of students (n = 191–198) also provided salivary samples, which were analysed for the stress marker cortisol. Linear (OLS) and binary logistic regression analyses showed that higher demands were associated with more perceived stress, a higher likelihood of recurrent pain, and a lower cortisol awakening response. Greater coping resources were associated with less perceived stress and a lower likelihood of recurrent pain, but there was no association with cortisol. The strength of the associations differed by gender. The findings suggest that schools can promote student wellbeing by providing clear and timely information and teacher support to the students, especially for boys. Identifying specific features of the schoolwork that give rise to stress and to modify these accordingly is also of importance, especially for girls.

  • 2018. Joacim Ramberg (et al.). International Journal of Adolescence and Youth

    Truancy is a problem associated with a range of negative consequences at the individual and societal level, both in the short and the long term. Few earlier studies have investigated the association between school effectiveness and truancy. The aim of this study is to examine the links between three teacher-rated features of school effectiveness – school leadership, teacher cooperation and consensus, and school ethos – and student-reported truancy. Data were collected in 2016 among 4,956 students and 1,045 teachers in 46 upper secondary schools in Stockholm. Results from two-level binary logistic regression analyses show that higher teacher ratings of the school leadership and of the school ethos (but not of teacher cooperation and consensus) are associated with a lower likelihood of truancy at the student-level, even when adjusting for student- and school-level sociodemographic characteristics. The findings indicate that effective school characteristics may contribute to reducing students’ inclination to play truant.

  • 2018. Joacim Ramberg (et al.). Improving Schools

    The effective schools literature has shown that school-contextual aspects matter for students’ academic and social outcomes. A potential link here may be the quality of the relationships between teachers and students, but few studies have investigated whether features of school effectiveness are in fact associated with students’ perceptions of teacher caring, which is the main purpose of this study. Based on recently collected data from 150 senior-level school units in Stockholm, school effectiveness in terms of teacher-assessed ‘school leadership’, ‘teacher cooperation and consensus’, and ‘school ethos’ (n = 2073) was analyzed in relation to perceived teacher caring as reported by students (n = 8022). Two-level linear regression analyses showed that all three aspects of school effectiveness were predictive of higher levels of perceived teacher caring among students. The findings suggest that these features of school effectiveness constitute an important foundation for promoting the quality of teachers’ relationships with their students.

  • 2018. Sara B. Låftman (et al.). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15 (4)

    Future orientation can be defined as an individual’s thoughts, beliefs, plans, and hopes for the future. Earlier research has shown adolescents’ future orientation to predict outcomes later in life, which makes it relevant to analyze differences in future orientation among youth. The aim of the present study was to analyze if bullying victimization was associated with an increased likelihood of reporting a pessimistic future orientation among school youth. To be able to distinguish between victims and bully-victims (i.e., students who are both bullies and victims), we also took perpetration into account. The data were derived from the Stockholm School Survey performed in 2016 among ninth grade students (ages 15–16 years) (n = 5144). Future orientation and involvement in school bullying and in cyberbullying were based on self-reports. The statistical method used was binary logistic regression. The results demonstrated that victims and bully-victims of school bullying and of cyberbullying were more likely to report a pessimistic future orientation compared with students not involved in bullying. These associations were shown also when involvement in school bullying and cyberbullying were mutually adjusted. The findings underline the importance of anti-bullying measures that target both school bullying and cyberbullying.

  • 2017. Sara Brolin Låftman, Charlotta Magnusson. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health

    Background: Self-reported psychological and psychosomatic health complaints, such as nervousness, sadness, headache and stomach-ache, are common among adolescents, particularly among girls, and studies suggest that the prevalence has risen among adolescent girls during the last few decades. However, only a limited number of studies have investigated the potential long-term consequences of such health complaints. The aim of the current study was to assess whether psychological and psychosomatic health complaints in adolescence predict the chance of entering tertiary education in young adulthood among women and men. Methods: The data used are from the Swedish Young-LNU, which is based on a nationally representative sample with self-reported survey information from adolescents aged 10–18 years in 2000 and from the same individuals at ages 20–28 in 2010 (n=783). Information was also collected from parents and from official registers. Results: Linear probability models showed that self-reported psychological complaints in adolescence were associated with a lower chance of having entered tertiary education 10 years later. This association was accounted for by differences in grade point average (GPA), suggesting that GPA may mediate the association between psychological complaints and later education. The pattern was similar for both genders. Furthermore, among men, psychosomatic complaints in adolescence were significantly associated with a lower likelihood of having entered tertiary education 10 years later when adjusting for GPA and social class in adolescence. A similar but non-significant tendency was found among women. Conclusions: The findings suggest that health complaints in adolescence may have long-term consequences in terms of lower educational attainment.

  • 2017. Sara Brolin Låftman, Viveca Östberg, Bitte Modin. School Effectiveness and School Improvement 28 (1), 153-164

    This study investigates associations between aspects of school climate, measured by students’ assessments aggregated to the class level, and exposure to bullying, measured at the individual level. The data were derived from the Stockholm School Survey of 2006–2010 with information from 16,418 ninth-grade students (aged 15–16 years) distributed over 871 classes and 259 schools. Three-level binary logistic regression was applied. Two of the studied school climate aspects in particular were linked with the occurrence of bullying: In classes where a high proportion of students claimed to be aware of the school rules and in classes where a high proportion of students stated that adults intervene against bullying, fewer students reported having been bullied. The findings imply that striving toward a school climate characterized by transparent rules and clear disapproval of harassments may help to reduce bullying.

  • 2017. Viveca Östberg, Bitte Modin, Sara Låftman Brolin. Journal of School Violence

    Being bullied at school is strongly related to psychological health complaints at the same time point. Studies have also found long-term associations, but few have combined a prospective design with children’s own reports on bullying, and conducted gender-specific analyses. The present study assesses health consequences in young adulthood of self-reported victimization in adolescence using data from Child-LNU in 2000 and the follow-up in 2010 (including 63% of the original sample, n = 813). At ages 10–18 a clear cross-sectional association was found for both girls and boys. Among girls, exposure to bullying also predicted psychological complaints 10 years later, at ages 20–28 (OR = 2.86). This association was not explained by socioeconomic circumstances, neither in adolescence nor in young adulthood. Instead, it can partly be understood as victimization, among adolescent girls, being associated with negative self-image and psychological health as well as with deficits in social resources more generally.

  • 2017. Sara Brolin Låftman (et al.). Acta Paediatrica 106 (12), 2048-2054

    Aim

    The aim of this study was to assess whether sociodemographic household characteristics were associated with which Swedish adolescents were more likely to be bullied.

    Methods

    The data were derived from the Swedish Living Conditions Survey and its child supplements from the survey years 2008-2011. The analyses included information on 3,951 adolescents aged 10-18 years. Exposure to bullying was reported by adolescents and information on sociodemographic household characteristics was reported by parents and obtained from official registers. Binary logistic regression was used to analyse the data.

    Results

    Adolescents were more likely to be bullied if they lived in households with no cash margin, defined as the ability to pay an unexpected bill of 8,000 Swedish Kronor or about 800 Euros, and if they lived with just one custodial parent. In the unadjusted analyses, elevated risks were identified if adolescents lived in working class households and had unemployed and foreign-born parents. However, these associations were at least partly accounted for by other sociodemographic household characteristics, in particular the lack of a cash margin.

    Conclusion

    This study showed that Swedish adolescents living in households with more limited financial resources had an increased risk of being bullied, supporting results from previous international research.

  • 2017. Emma Fransson (et al.). Child Indicators Research
  • 2017. Viveca Östberg, Sara Brolin Låftman. Sociologisk forskning 54 (4), 335-339

    In Sweden, as in Western countries generally, somatic complaints are common in adolescents. These complaints are clearly connected with gender while the evidence of socioeconomic inequalities is less conclusive. The aim of this study is to analyse the combined relevance of gender and parental education for adolescents' somatic complaints, using national data with direct information from adolescents and their parents (n=7,393). Among girls, but not among boys, a graded association was found demonstrating less somatic complaints with higher parental education. Stress and coping are discussed as potentially important mechanisms.

  • 2017. Sara Brolin Låftman, Viveca Östberg, Bitte Modin. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14 (10)

    Cyberbullying is a relatively new form of bullying, with both similarities and differences to traditional bullying. While earlier research has examined associations between school-contextual characteristics and traditional bullying, fewer studies have focused on the links to students’ involvement in cyberbullying behavior. The aim of the present study is to assess whether school-contextual conditions in terms of teachers’ ratings of the school leadership are associated with the occurrence of cyberbullying victimization and perpetration among students. The data are derived from two separate data collections performed in 2016: The Stockholm School Survey conducted among students in the second grade of upper secondary school (ages 17–18 years) in Stockholm municipality, and the Stockholm Teacher Survey which was carried out among teachers in the same schools. The data include information from 6067 students distributed across 58 schools, linked with school-contextual information based on reports from 1251 teachers. Cyberbullying victimization and perpetration are measured by students’ self-reports. Teachers’ ratings of the school leadership are captured by an index based on 10 items; the mean value of this index was aggregated to the school level. Results from binary logistic multilevel regression models show that high teacher ratings of the school leadership are associated with less cyberbullying victimization and perpetration. We conclude that a strong school leadership potentially prevents cyberbullying behavior among students.

  • 2018. Viveca Östberg (et al.). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15 (2)

    Bullying involves repeated exposure to negative actions while also invoking a power asymmetry between the involved parties. From a stress perspective, being bullied can be seen as a severe and chronic stressor, and an everyday social-evaluative threat, coupled with a shortage of effective social resources for dealing with this particular stressor. The aim of this study was to investigate whether exposure to bullying among mid-adolescent girls and boys is associated with subjective and objective stress-related outcomes in terms of perceived stress, recurrent pain, and salivary cortisol. The data came from the School Stress and Support Study (TriSSS) including students in grades 8–9 in two schools in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010 (study sample n = 392; cortisol subsample n = 198). Bullying was self-reported and measured by multiple items. The statistical analyses included binary logistic and linear (OLS) regression. Being bullied was associated with greater perceived stress and an increased risk of recurrent pain, among both boys and girls. Also, bullied students had lower cortisol output (AUCG) and lower cortisol awakening response (CARG) as compared to those who were not bullied. Gender-stratified analyses demonstrated that these associations were statistically significant for boys but not for girls. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that being bullied was related to both subjective and objective stress markers among mid-adolescent girls and boys, pointing to the necessity of continuously working against bullying.

  • 2018. Bitte Modin (et al.). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15 (1)

    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.

  • 2018. Gabriella Olsson, Sara Brolin Låftman, Bitte Modin. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth

    The aim of the present study is to assess the association between problematic alcohol consumption in the family and youth alcohol consumption and to explore the extent to which this association is moderated by conditions in school in terms of schools’ degree of student focus. We use data from the Stockholm School Survey performed among 10,757 ninth grade students and the Stockholm Teacher Survey performed among 2,304 teachers in the same schools. Multilevel logistic regressions were performed. The results showed that problematic alcohol consumption in the family was associated with a higher likelihood of heavy drinking among adolescents. The association was weaker in schools with a strong student focus, indicating a compensatory effect of conditions in school.

Show all publications by Sara Brolin Låftman at Stockholm University

Last updated: August 10, 2019

Bookmark and share Tell a friend