Laura Wells

Laura Wells

PhD student

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Public Health Sciences
Telephone 08-16 10 92
Visiting address Sveavägen 160, Sveaplan
Room 553
Postal address Institutionen för folkhälsovetenskap 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am a PhD student in the Department of Public Health Sciences. My research interests include:

  • adolescents' and young adults' living conditions and life chances
  • understanding how social advantages and disadvantages relate to health over the life course
  • examining how health risk behaviors are patterned with different dimensions of social stratification


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Laura Wells, Viveca Östberg. SSM - Population Health 6, 91-97


    Alcohol consumption contributes to health inequalities, but few studies have examined how socially differentiated alcohol use develops across the life course. In this study, we examine how one aspect of childhood socioeconomic position (parental education) relates to two often-conflated young adult drinking patterns: drinking frequency and quantity per occasion. Using a life course perspective, we also explore whether parental drinking patterns or young adults’ own educational attainment might account for such associations.


    This study used longitudinal data from the nationally representative Swedish Level of Living Surveys (LNU). Young adults’ (aged 20–28, n = 803) drinking patterns and educational attainment were determined through the LNU 2010 and official registers. A decade earlier, parents self-reported their education and drinking patterns in the LNU 2000 and Partner-LNU 2000.


    Logistic regression models showed that high parental education predicted young adult frequent drinking, while low parental education predicted young adult high quantity drinking. Drinking patterns were associated inter-generationally, but parental alcohol use did not account for differences in young adult drinking patterns by parental education. Young adults’ own education similarly predicted their drinking patterns but did not account for differences in drinking frequency by parental education. Differences in drinking quantity by parental education were no longer significant when young adults’ own education was included in the final model.


    Findings suggest that parental education constitutes an early-life structural position that confers differential risk for young adult drinking patterns. Young adults whose parents had low education were less likely to drink frequently but were more likely to drink heavily per occasion, a drinking pattern that may place more disadvantaged young adults at a greater health risk.

  • 2017. Laura Wells, Magnus Nermo, Viveca Östberg. Health Education & Behavior 44 (3), 376-384

    As physical inactivity may track from adolescence to adulthood, it is important to identify social determinants of physical inactivity in early life. However, most studies have measured socioeconomic position as one dimension. We examine whether multiple dimensions of socioeconomic position, in addition to other dimensions of inequality (i.e., gender, immigrant background), associate with physical inactivity at two time points in youth. Longitudinal data were drawn from the Swedish Level of Living Survey (N = 765) and analysed by gender-stratified logistic regression. Among girls, low parental social class (odds ratio [OR] = 2.63, 95% confidence interval [CI; 1.28, 5.42]) and income (OR = 2.28, 95% [CI 1.12, 4.65]) were associated with physical inactivity, while immigrant background (OR = 2.33, 95% CI [1.03, 5.23]) and a low level of parental education (OR = 3.38, 95% CI [1.15, 9.95]) predicted physical inactivity among women. Among boys, low parental income (OR = 3.27, 95% CI [1.39, 7.69]) was associated with physical inactivity, whereas immigrant background (OR = 2.29, 95% CI [1.04, 5.03]) predicted physical inactivity among men. Our results suggest that physical inactivity is socially patterned, but different dimensions of social stratification should not be considered interchangeable as they may operate independently, through intersection with gender, and at different time points in youth in increasing the risk of physical inactivity.

Show all publications by Laura Wells at Stockholm University

Last updated: November 30, 2018

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