Stefanie MöllbornProfessor of Sociology
I am Professor of Sociology at Stockholm University. I am also affiliated with the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Before joining the faculty at Stockholm University, I was a Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder. I received my Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University in 2006.
I specialize in understanding the health and development of children and youth in today’s rapidly changing societies. I use both statistical analyses of longitudinal national surveys and in-depth qualitative studies of local samples in my work. Combining these different methods allows me to achieve my primary research aims: identifying demographic trends related to social inequalities among children and youth, then seeking to understand the processes underlying these trends by engaging with and developing theory rooted in sociological social psychology and the life course perspective. Current and recent funders include the US National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
My recent and ongoing research engages with three main areas: the implications of social inequalities for the health and development of children and youth, fertility inequalities and social norms, and health lifestyles among children and youth. Each of these research areas is influenced by the life course perspective, focusing on the reverberations of early life inequalities for human development, cultural influences on human lives, and the social embeddedness of human behaviors.
At Stockholm University I teach Microsociology at the undergraduate level. I advise Ph.D. students from multiple universities.
The child of public school teachers, I am committed to the educational mission of my public university. I value making students feel respected and heard, fostering critical reading and thinking, encouraging students’ connectedness to their peers, and building competencies that will be useful for students’ future lives and workplaces.
Much of my current research centers around the development of health lifestyles in children and youth. A focus on health lifestyles in the early life course has the potential to turn the typical approach to health behavior policies and interventions on its head. Policies targeting young people’s health behaviors most frequently focus on influencing single behaviors. Results are often disappointing. In contrast, a lifestyle approach acknowledges that health behaviors do not happen in a vacuum; rather, they co-occur in sets and influence one another. These sets of health behaviors arise from deeply rooted identities that, if they do not themselves change, can undermine efforts to alter behaviors. A health lifestyle approach to crafting social policy suggests that targeting the underlying identities that produce a certain lifestyle may be more effective than focusing on a single behavior. This approach must first be informed by research on what young people’s health lifestyles look like, how they form over time, and how identities and multiple behaviors are related.
My research team is studying technology use among children and youth as an important, rapidly changing health behavior that is disrupting and changing young people’s health lifestyles. Our team has collected new interview data from teenagers and their parents during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand how the pandemic is shaping young people’s health lifestyles and technology use.