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Klara Hussenius

About me

I am a lecutrer in social work, working with a PhD project on discriminatory bias and intersectional patterns in social assistance assessments. More specifically, my research addresses linkages between applicants' gender and ethnicity and social workers' propensity to grant support.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Gender and ethnicity in social assistance assessments of single applicants with substance abuse problems

    2021. Klara Hussenius. European Journal of Social Work


    In Sweden, trained social workers ultimately determine the right to social assistance (SA). This paper examines how a substance-abusing SA applicant’s gender and ethnicity affect assessments on eligibility. It further addresses whether professionals’ gender and migration background have bearing for such patterns. Social work professionals (n = 910) spread over 43 social service offices in 19 Swedish municipalities conducted assessments based on a vignette. Four versions of the vignette were used, in which the name of the applicant was varied. The names were two Swedish-sounding names and two Arabic-sounding names: one of each gender respectively. Data were analysed by means of cross tabulations and multilevel logistic regression analysis. The Swedish-sounding names were linked to a higher chance of granting compared to the Arabic-sounding names, whereas females more often were seen as eligible than males. The major finding was the combined impact of gender and ethnicity: Applicants attributed with an Arabic-sounding male name were less often seen as eligible than those with a Swedish-sounding female name. This bias was specifically manifest among female professionals. Further, native-born professionals generally viewed the applicant as eligible to a higher extent than foreign-born.

    Read more about Gender and ethnicity in social assistance assessments of single applicants with substance abuse problems
  • Social assistance assessments of couple households

    2021. Klara Hussénius. International Journal of Social Welfare


    Social work professionals’ assessments of social assistance (SA) eligibility for a heterosexual couple with a baby are examined. Professionals (n = 899) spread over 43 social service offices in 19 Swedish municipalities assessed a vignette. According to the vignette, one of the parents abstained from paid work to take parental leave, which caused the couple's need for SA. Two vignette dimensions were varied: the couple's ethnicity (Swedish/Arabic) and gendered family roles (mother/father going on parental leave). Data were analysed using multilevel logistic regression modelling. The results show that the combination of the couple's gendered family roles and ethnicity seems to have bearing on the assessments. Professionals were most prone to grant SA to couples with Swedish names where the mother went from work to parental leave. The lowest granting rate was found in assessments of couples with the same gender setting and Arabic names.

    Read more about Social assistance assessments of couple households
  • Intersectional patterns of social assistance eligibility in Sweden

    2019. Klara Hussénius. Nordic Social Work Research


    This study examines patterns in social worker decisions on social assistance eligibility in Sweden. Focusing on intersections between applicants’ gender, country of birth and family situation, factors that statistically anticipate decisions on granting assistance to individuals from different sub-groups were explored. The sample comprises 423 applications and four sets of modified Poisson regression models were conducted. The results strengthen the impression of social assistance assessments as a practice marked by the professionals’ categorizations. In line with previous research, social workers seem to act upon, and reinforce, a male breadwinner model by putting more emphasis on men’s efforts to establish self-support. Female applicants, in turn, are seemingly less likely to be granted assistance if they are assessed as having a problem with abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs. Also, having a family seems altogether to have a negative impact on women’s chances of approval. When considering gender and country of birth, decisions on social assistance eligibility largely reflect patterns of unemployment.

    Read more about Intersectional patterns of social assistance eligibility in Sweden
  • Problematiska mönster eller enskilda problem?

    2015. Klara Hussénius (et al.).

    I Sverige finns ett anmäkningsvärt stort utrymme för enskilda handläggares subjektivitet i bedömningen av socialbidragsklienter. Tidigare studier baserade på vinjettdata tyder på att handläggarnas bedömningar av klienternas problem och hjälpbehov tenderar att reproducera traditionella könsroller. Samtidigt saknas kunskap om betydelsen av kön i bedömningar av riktiga klienter. I den här studien analyseras könsrelaterade mönster i enkätdata om 138 handläggares bedömningar av psykosociala och hälsorelaterade problem hos 471 socialbidragsklienter. Resultaten påvisar bedömningsmönster som kan hänföras till både klienternas och handläggarnas kön, och uppmärksammar att dessa nivåer samverkar i bedömningar som rör alkoholmissbruk. Vidare framkommer att betydelsen av kön tycks samverka med andra sociala faktorer som ålder och födelseland. 

    Read more about Problematiska mönster eller enskilda problem?

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