Lisa Berg

Lisa Berg

Senior Lecturer/docent

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Public Health Sciences
Visiting address Sveavägen 160, Sveaplan
Room 340
Postal address Institutionen för folkhälsovetenskap 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am a senior lecturer and associate professor of public health sciences. I defended my thesis at Karolinska Institutet in 2012 and I have a background in public health sciences, epidemiology, and sociology. I am involved in different research projects:

  • “Traumatic stress in refugee families”, project financed by Stockholms universitet and Vetenskapsrådet
  • “Social determinants of health among individuals with foreign background" (SMASH), project financed by FORTE
  • "Grandchildren of misfortune: The role of resilience for multigenerational patterns of inequality", project financed by VR
  • “A life course perspective on bereavement in childhood and health problems in adulthood”, project financed by VR


I am course manager and teach at basic and advanced level. I also supervise advanced-level students.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Lisa Berg (et al.). Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 73 (4-5), 264-272

    Aim: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in parents can have severe consequences also for their children. Prevalence of PTSD is high among refugees. Refugee children have been reported to perform poorly in school. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of PTSD in refugee and native Swedish parents on children’s school performance and to compare the impact of PTSD with that of other major psychiatric disorders.

    Methods: Register study where multiple regression models were used to analyse school performance in 15–16-year-olds in a national cohort (n = 703,813). PTSD and other major psychiatric disorders (bipolar, depression and/or psychotic disorders) were identified from out- and in-patient hospital care.

    Results: Maternal and paternal PTSD were associated with lower grades, with adjusted effects of 0.30–0.37 SD in refugee and 0.46–0.50 SD in native Swedish families. Impact of PTSD was greater than that of other psychiatric disorders and comorbidity to PTSD did not increase this impact. Although the impact of PTSD on grades was greater in children in native Swedish families, consequences with regard to eligibility to secondary education were greater for children in refugee families, where 35% of these children were ineligible.

    Conclusions: Parental PTSD has major consequences for children’s school performance and contributes to the lower school performance in children in refugee families in Sweden. Identification and treatment of PTSD in refugee parents is important for offspring educational achievement. Psychiatric clinics and treatment centres need to have a strategy for support, including educational support, to the offspring of their patients with PTSD.

  • 2019. Hélio Manhica (et al.). Journal of Youth Studies 22 (4), 533-550

    This register-based study examined the importance of education on labour market participation among young refugees in Sweden. The study population consisted of unaccompanied (n = 1606) and accompanied refuges (n = 4142), aged 23–26 years in 2006–2010, after 7 years of residence in Sweden. Native Swedish, aged 24 years (n = 347,255) constituted the comparison population, with intercountry adoptees (n = 6689) as an alternative reference group. Gender-stratified multinomial regression models indicated that unaccompanied and accompanied male and female young refugees had higher risks of being in insecure work force and NEET compared to native Swedes with comparable levels of education. However, young refugees and intercountry adoptees with primary education had similar risks of poor labour market outcomes. The educational differences within each group concerning the risk of being in insecure work force were comparable. With the exception of unaccompanied females, secondary education seemed to be less protective against being in NEET among young refugees compared to native Swedes and intercountry adoptees. We conclude that while young refugees face employment disadvantages, education has the potential of mitigating poor labour market outcomes in this group.

  • 2019. Lisa Berg (et al.). European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

    Studies have found that sibling loss is associated with an increased risk of death from external causes (i.e. suicides, accidents and homicides). Increased psychiatric health problems following bereavement could underlie such an association. We studied the influence of sibling loss during childhood on psychiatric care in young adulthood, adjusting for psychosocial covariates shared by siblings in childhood. A national cohort born in Sweden in 1973–1982 (N = 701,270) was followed prospectively until 2013. Cox proportional hazards models were used to analyse the association between sibling loss during childhood and psychiatric inpatient and outpatient care identified by the Hospital Discharge Register. After adjustment for confounders, the HRs of psychiatric care in men who experienced sibling loss were 1.17 (95% CI 1.07–1.27) while the associations turned non-significant in women after adjustment for family-related psychosocial covariates, HR 1.07 (95% CI 0.99–1.16). An increased risk was found in men bereaved in early childhood (1.22 95% CI 1.07–1.38) and adolescence (1.27 95% CI 1.08–1.48). Among women, loss of a sibling during adolescence was significantly associated with psychiatric care (1.19 95% CI 1.03–1.36). Increased psychiatric health problems following bereavement could underlie the previously found association between sibling loss and mortality from external causes. Family-related psychosocial conditions shared by siblings in childhood may account for the association between sibling death and psychiatric care in adulthood.

  • 2018. Lisa Berg, Lars Brännström. PLoS ONE 13 (4)


    Evictions may have serious consequences for individuals’ health and wellbeing. Even though an eviction may be experienced as a significant crisis for the family, there is little previous knowledge on consequences for evicted children. This study represents the first attempt to examine to what extent children from evicted households were separated from their parents and placed in out-of-home care (foster family or residential care) using population-based data, net of observed confounding factors related to the socioeconomic and psychosocial circumstances of their parents.


    This study takes advantage of information from a Swedish national database, consisting of about 8 000 evicted individuals and a random sample of 770 000 individuals from the national population, linked to individual-level, longitudinal data from Swedish national registers. Our analytical sample consists of information for more than 250 000 children born in 1995–2008, including 2 224 children from evicted households. We used binary logistic regression based on the Karlson/Holm/Breen method to account for observed imbalances at baseline between evicted and non-evicted children.


    Compared to non-evicted children, the crude odds ratio for placement in out-of-home care in evicted children was 12.10 (95% CI 8.54–17.14). Net of observed confounding factors related to the socioeconomic and psychosocial circumstances of the parents, evicted children had a twofold elevated risk of being placed in out-of-home care (odds ratio 2.26, 95% CI 1.55–3.27). Crude OR for evicted children in comparison with children under threat of eviction (eviction not formally executed) was 1.71 (95% CI 1.17–2.49) and adjusted OR 1.58 (95% CI 1.06–2.35).


    Children who experience eviction constitute a disadvantaged group and are at significant risk of being separated from their parents and placed in out-of-home care. These results demonstrate the importance of providing support for these children and their parents. Strategies to prevent households with children from being evicted seem to be an important and viable intervention path.

  • 2016. Lisa Berg, Mikael Rostila, Anders Hjern. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines 57 (9), 1092-1098


    There are few prospective, population-based studies on childhood parental death and psychiatric disorders in adulthood, and previous findings are inconclusive. This study investigated the association between parental death from natural and external (suicides, accidents or homicides) causes before 18 years and the risk of clinical depression in young adults, in relation to age at loss and gender of both child and parent.


    In this register-based study, a national cohort born in Sweden during 1973–1982 (n = 862,554) was followed with regard to hospital admissions and outpatient care for depression during 2006–2013. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the impact of parental death, taking sociodemographic and parental psychosocial covariates into account.


    Maternal death from natural causes was associated with a hazard ratio (HR) of outpatient care for depression of 1.19 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.02–1.40] in men and 1.15 (1.01–1.31) in women, after adjustment for sociodemographic confounders, with similar effect sizes for paternal natural death. Death from external causes consistently had higher effect size compared with natural deaths, in particular in relation to risk of hospital admissions for depression where they were as high as HR 3.23 (2.38–4.38) for men, and 1.79 (1.30–2.47) for women after a loss of a mother. Losing a parent in preschool age, compared with losing a parent as a teenager, was associated with higher risks of both hospitalization (p = .006) and outpatient care (p = .001) for depression.


    This study indicates that parental loss to death from natural causes during childhood is associated with a small increased risk of long-term consequences for psychological health. Children who lose their parents to death from external causes, that is suicides, accidents or homicides, and children losing a parent in young ages are, however, at particular risk and should be given priority in preventive interventions after parental loss.

  • 2017. Anders Hjern (et al.).
  • 2016. Lisa Berg (et al.). Addiction 111 (10), 1795-1803

    To study the links between parental alcohol-related disorders and offspring school performance and, specifically, whether associations vary by gender of parent or child and whether associations are mediated by other adverse psychosocial circumstances commonly appearing together with parental alcohol problems, such as parental mental health problems or criminal behaviour.

    Register study in a national cohort.



    740 618 individuals born in Sweden in 1990-1996.

    Parental hospital admissions for alcohol-related disorders and school performance in their offspring, in the final year of compulsory school at age 15-16, was analysed in relation to sociodemographic confounders and psychosocial covariates, using linear and logistic regressions.

    Both mothers’ and fathers’ alcohol-related hospital admissions were associated with lower z-scores of grades and national mathematic tests scores. After adjustment for parental education and sociodemographic confounders, beta-coefficients of z-scores of grades were -0.42 (95% CI -0.45, -0.39) and -0.42 (95 % CI -0.43,-0.40), and beta-coefficients of mathematic tests scores were -0.36 (95% CI -0.39, -0.33) and -0.31 (95% CI -0.33, -0.29), for mothers’ and fathers’ alcohol-related disorders, respectively. Adjusted ORs for not being eligible for secondary school were 1.99 (95% CI 1.84-2.15) and 2.04 (95% CI 1.95-2.15) for mothers’ and fathers’ alcohol-related disorders, respectively. Adjusting the analyses for psychosocial factors in the family almost eradicated the statistical effects of parental alcohol-related disorders on offspring school performance to beta-coefficients of 0.03 to -0.10 and ORs of 0.89 to 1.15. The effect of a mother's alcohol-related hospital admission on school performance was stronger in girls than in boys, whereas no gender differences were seen for a father's alcohol-related hospital admission.


    In Sweden, alcohol-related disorders in both mothers and fathers are associated with lower school performance in their children at age 15-16, with most of the statistical effects being attributed to psychosocial circumstances of the family, such as parental psychiatric disorders, drug use, and criminality and receipt of social or child welfare interventions.

  • 2014. Lisa Berg (et al.). Pediatrics 133 (4), 682-689

    OBJECTIVES: Parental death during childhood has been linked to increased mortality and mental health problems in adulthood. School failure may be an important mediator in this trajectory. We investigated the association between parental death before age 15 years and school performance at age 15 to 16 years, taking into account potentially contributing factors such as family socioeconomic position (SEP) and parental substance abuse, mental health problems, and criminality.

    METHODS: This was a register-based national cohort study of 772117 subjects born in Sweden between 1973 and 1981. Linear and logistic regression models were used to analyze school performance as mean grades (scale: 1-5; SD: 0.70) and school failure (finished school with incomplete grades). Results are presented as -coefficients and odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

    RESULTS: Parental death was associated with lower grades (ORs: -0.21 [95% CI: -0.23 to -0.20] and -0.17 [95% CI: -0.19 to -0.15]) for paternal and maternal deaths, respectively. Adjustment for SEP and parental psychosocial factors weakened the associations, but the results remained statistically significant. Unadjusted ORs of school failure were 2.04 (95% CI: 1.92 to 2.17) and 1.51 (95% CI: 1.35 to 1.69) for paternal and maternal deaths. In fully adjusted models, ORs were 1.40 (95% CI: 1.31 to 1.49) and 1.18 (95% CI: 1.05 to 1.32). The higher crude impact of death due to external causes (ie, accident, violence, suicide) (OR: -0.27 [90% CI: -0.28 to -0.26]), compared with natural deaths (OR: -0.16 [95% CI: -0.17 to -0.15]), was not seen after adjustment for SEP and psychosocial situation of the family.

    CONCLUSIONS: Parental death during childhood was associated with lower grades and school failure. Much of the effect, especially for deaths by external causes, was associated with socially adverse childhood exposures.

Show all publications by Lisa Berg at Stockholm University

Last updated: March 25, 2021

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