Stockholm university

Robin HögnäsAssociate Professor

About me

Robin is an Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences (Docent) and senior researcher in the Epidemiology Unit at the Stress Research Institute. She holds a PhD in sociology and trained as a postdoctoral fellow in social demography at the Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Broadly, her research examines links between social relationships within institutions such as the family and the workplace, socioeconomic disparities within these institutions, and individual health and wellbeing over different stages of the life course. Robin’s work has drawn on a range of theoretical perspectives, longitudinal data from multiple Western countries, and has employed advanced statistical techniques.

Current Research

Project coordinator and senior researcher within two Forte-funded projects, both led by Hugo Westerlund.

1. Sustainable Work in an Aging Population (SWAP)

The primary goal of the SWAP project is to better understand social and health determinants of working life expectancy (WLE) - the average number of years beyond age 50 that people are expected to be employed given family, work, and health characteristics. The overarching aim of SWAP is to contribute knowledge to ongoing efforts and debates to extend working lives in Western countries. WLE is an efficient and innovative approach to measuring active work life that captures the often complex and dynamic employment transitions around retirement age. SWAP is in collaboration with researchers within the Integrated Datasets in Europe for Ageing Research (IDEAR) network (

2. Young SLOSH: Examining the Importance and Development of Mental Health During the Establishment in the Labour Market (Y-SLOSH)

Y-SLOSH will extend the SLOSH study to include young people ages 15-29 with the overall aim of contributing knowledge about the determinants of mental health outcomes and how these outcomes affect young people’s labor market establishment and family formation. SLOSH is a large cohort studyapproximately representative of the Swedish working population and focused on psychosocial and physical work environments, mental health, and physical health. However, it lacks sufficient data on young peopleand the circumstances of their lives. We plan to begin Y-SLOSH data collection in 2024.

Teaching Experience

At Stockholm University, Robin has taught Stratificaiton and Health at the masters level. Prior to her move to Sweden in 2017, she taught for approximately eight years at American universities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She designed and taught a wide-range courses, including social stratification, statistics, sociology of the family, introductory research methods, program evaluation, and others. She has supervised and co-supervised student research projects and theses at the BA, MA, and PhD levels.

Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • It's giving me the blues: A fixed-effects and g-formula approach to understanding job insecurity, sleep disturbances, and major depression

    2022. Robin S. Högnäs (et al.). Social Science and Medicine 297


    Research suggests that work-related factors like job insecurity increases the risk of major depression (MD), although it is unclear whether the association is causal. Research further suggests that job insecurity increases sleep disturbances, which is also a risk factor for MD. Based on current knowledge, it is possible that job insecurity operates through sleep disturbances to affect MD, but this pathway has not been examined in the literature. The current study extends the literature by using two complementary, counterfactual approaches (i.e., random- and fixed-effects regression and a mediational g-formula) to examine whether job insecurity causes MD and whether sleep disturbances mediate the relationship. A methodological triangulation approach allowed us to adjust for unobserved and intermediate confounding, which has not been addressed in prior research. Findings suggest that the relationship between job insecurity and MD is primarily direct, that hypothetically intervening on job insecurity (in our g-formula) would reduce MD by approximately 10% at the population level, and this relationship operates via sleep disturbances to some degree. However, the indirect pathway had a high degree of uncertainty.

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  • Gray Divorce and Social and Emotional Loneliness

    2020. Robin S. Högnäs. Divorce in Europe, 147-165


    Research consistently shows an association between marriage and divorce and long-term health, including mental health outcomes linked to loneliness and depression. And, recent evidence suggests that divorce at midlife and older, or so-called “gray divorce” has increased while divorce at younger ages has decreased. Using data from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS), this chapter explores the association between marital status and social and emotional loneliness, empha- sizing gray divorce. Contrary to expectations, compared to those continuously mar- ried (e.g., never divorced), gray divorce is not associated significantly with social loneliness, but divorce prior to midlife is. On the other hand, those who divorced prior to and after midlife were emotionally lonelier than those continuously mar- ried, regardless of birth cohort and remarriage. In addition, compared to their mar- ried counterparts of the same age, there was no association between divorce and social loneliness for women, but there was for men who divorced both before and after midlife. Among only the divorced group, gray divorce (versus younger divorce) was not associated significantly with social nor emotional loneliness for women or men. Also among only those who divorced, gray divorced men (versus younger divorced men) were less emotionally lonely, but this finding was not statistically significant. 

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  • Socioeconomic Status and Working Life Expectancy in Sweden

    2022. Holendro Singh Chungkham, Robin S. Högnäs, Hugo Westerlund. 33rd REVES – Advances in International Research on Health and Life Expectancy in the Covid-19 era, 6-6


    Longer life expectancy and fertility decline have increased concerns about the security of old-age pensions. Raising retirement ages is one strategy to offset rising costs, though the option to retire varies considerably by socioeconomic status (SES) and sex. In terms of SES, the level of variation may depend on the measure used. Also, many workers now transition into retirement slowly, e.g., move from full- to part-time work. Thus, retirement age may not sufficiently capture how long people work. Working life expectancy (WLE)—the expected average number of years worked—better measures total working life. We use data from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH) from 2008 to 2020 (n=4,940 people age 50+ and n=74,093 person-observations) to examine WLE by education and occupation. We estimate a three-state multistate model (i.e., working, not working, dead) and a four-state model (working part-time, working full-time, not working, and dead); both assume a continuous-time first-order Markov process. We estimate two sex-stratified models, cross-classified by: 1) occupation; and 2) education. We find that professionals work full-time 1 year more than routine workers, regardless of sex. The low educated work full-time 1 year less than the highly educated. In our weighted three-state model, where part-time work contributed ½ of full-time work, the difference increased to 1.14 and 1.05 years, respectively. Our unweighted three-state model showed slightly larger education differences. Findings suggest that WLE differs by SES, regardless of sex, and the differences are greater by education than occupation. This has implications for extending working life policies.

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  • Importance of living arrangements and coparenting quality for young children's mental health after parental divorce

    2021. Malin Bergström (et al.). BMJ Paediatrics Open 5 (1)


    Background Parental separation has been associated with adverse child mental health outcomes in the literature. For school-aged children, joint physical custody (JPC), that is, spending equal time in both parents' homes after a divorce, has been associated with better health and well-being than single care arrangements. Preschool children's well-being in JPC is less studied. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of living arrangements and coparenting quality with mental health in preschool children after parental separation.

    Methods This cross-sectional population-based study includes 12 845 three-year-old children in Sweden. Mental health was measured by parental reports of the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire and coparenting quality with a four-item scale. The living arrangements of the 642 children in non-intact families were categorised into JPC, living mostly with one parent and living only with one parent.

    Results Linear regression models, adjusted for sociodemographic confounders, showed an association between increased mental health problems and living mostly and only with one parent (B=1.18; 95% CI 0.37 to 2.00, and B=1.20; 95% CI 0.40 to 2.00, respectively), while children in intact families vs JPC did not differ significantly (B=-0.11; 95% CI -0.58 to 0.36). After adjusting the analyses for coparenting quality, differences in child mental health between the post divorce living arrangements were, however, minimal while children in intact families had more mental health problems compared with JPC (B=0.70; 95% CI 0.24 to 1.15). Factorial analysis of covariance revealed that low coparenting quality was more strongly related to mental health problems for children in intact families and JPC compared with children living mostly or only with one parent.

    Conclusions This study suggests that coparenting quality is a key determinant of mental health in preschool children and thus should be targeted in preventive interventions.

    Read more about Importance of living arrangements and coparenting quality for young children's mental health after parental divorce

Show all publications by Robin Högnäs at Stockholm University