Cecilia Stenfors

Cecilia Stenfors


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Arbetar vid Psykologiska institutionen
Telefon 08-16 38 92
Besöksadress Frescati Hagväg 14
Rum 353
Postadress Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

I am a researcher in the Biological Psychology division and the Work & Organizational Psychology division, at the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University.

My research interests broadly focus on the determinants of cognitive functioning and state performance dynamics as well as mental health and wellbeing.

Factors and strategies which affect cognitive functioning and performance, restoration, and well-being in the short term and across the life span, is an overarching theme in my research.

The factors I study range from the external environment (incl. work environment, natural vs urban environment exposures) to inner psychological and biological/physiological processes (e.g. cardiovascular, inflammatory, neural, and genetical). I use epidemiological and experimental study designs and mainly quantitative methods.

Several of my current research projects focus on how different natural and urban environment exposures affect cognitive performance, restoration, performance, affects, stress and wellbeing in different individuals, using experimental and epidemiological research methods.

After obtaining my doctoral degree, I have been working as a post-doctoral researcher at the Aging Research Center at Karolinska Institutet, and during the past years I have been a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Chicago in the Environmental Neuroscience Lab, where my research has focused on these topics.


External collaborators

Marc Berman, Associate professor, Environmental neuroscience, University of Chicago, USA.

James T. Enns, Department of Psychology, University of Bristish Columbia, BC, Canada.

Claudine Berr, Professor, MD,  Epidemiology, INSERM and Montpellier University, France.

Patrik Grahn, Professor, Landscape architecture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Linda Magnusson Hanson, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University.

Lena Lid Falkman, Stockholm School of Economics.

Walter Osika, Associate Professor, MD, Center for Social Sustainability, Karolinska Institutet.

Jonas Persson, Professor, Örebro Universitet & Karolinska Institutet.

Thöres Theorell, Professor emeritus, Karolinska Institutet.

Susanna Toivanen, Professor, Mälardalens Högskola.

Matilda van den Bosch, Associate Professor, Occupational & Environmental Health, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Hugo Westerlund, Professor, Epidemiology, Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University.


Education & training

I earned my Bachelor and Master’s degree in Psychology at the University of St Andrews, UK (2007), and my Doctoral degree in Psychology at the Department of Psychology and the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University (2014). I studied statistical methods at the ICPSR at the University of Michigan as part of my doctoral training, and did fMRI training at the University of Michigan, as part of my post-doctoral training.




Stenfors, C.U.D, Van Hedger, S. C., Schertz, K. E., Meyer, F., Smith, K. E., Norman, G., Bourrier, S. C., Enns, J. T., Kardan, O., Jonides, J., & Berman, M. G. (2019) Positive effects of nature on cognitive performance across multiple experiments: Test order but not affect modulates the cognitive effects. Accepted for publication in Frontiers in Psychology.

Meidenbauer, K.L., Stenfors, C.U.D., Young, J., Layden, E.A., Schertz, K.E., Kardan, O., Decety, J. and Berman, M.G., 2019. The gradual development of the preference for natural environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, p.101328. Available online on July 24 2019.

Meidenbauer, K.L., Stenfors, C.U.D., Ingram, M., & Berman, M. (2019) A tablet-based task for assessing environmental preferences in children and adults. Methods X, Elsevier journals. Accepted for publication August 2019.

Persson, J., & Stenfors, C. (2018). Superior cognitive goal maintenance in carriers of genetic markers linked to reduced striatal D2 receptor density (C957T and DRD2/ANKK1-TaqIA). PloS one, 13(8), e0201837. PMID: 30125286.

Bäcklander, G., Rosengren, C., Falkman, L.L., Stenfors, C., Seddigh, A., Osika, W. and Stenström, E. (2018). Navigating the Activity Based Working Environment–Relationships of Self-Leadership, Autonomy and Information Richness with Cognitive Stress and Performance. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology3(1).

Horwitz, E. B., Stenfors, C., & Osika, W. (2018). Writer's Block Revisited: A Micro-Phenomenological Case Study on the Blocking Influence of an Internalized Voice. Journal of Consciousness Studies25(3-4), 9-28.

Stenfors, C., Jonsdottir, I., Magnusson Hanson, L.L., Theorell, T. (2017) Associations between systemic pro-inflammatory markers, cognitive function and cognitive complaints in a population-based sample of working adults. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 96, 49-59. PMID: 28545793.

Stenfors, C., Theorell, T., Magnusson Hanson, L. & Osika, W. (2016). Executive Cognitive Functioning & Cardiovascular Autonomic Regulation in a Population-Based sample of Working Adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1536. PMID: 27761124.

Seddigh, A, Stenfors, C., Berntson, E, Bååth, R, Sikström, S, & H, Westerlund. (2015) The association between office design and performance on demanding cognitive tasks, Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Stenfors, C, Marklund, P, Hanson, LLM, Theorell, T, Nilsson, L-G. (2014) Are subjective cognitive complaints related to memory functioning in the working population? BMC Psychology, 2:3.

Stenfors C, Marklund P, Magnusson Hanson LL, Theorell T, Nilsson L-G (2013). Subjective Cognitive Complaints and the Role of Executive Cognitive Functioning in the Working Population: A Case-Control Study. PLoS ONE 8(12): e83351. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083351.

PMID: 24386185.

Stenfors, C, Hanson, LLM, Theorell, T, Oxenstierna, G, & Nilsson, L-G (2013). Psychosocial Working Conditions and Cognitive Complaints among Swedish Employees. PLoS ONE, 8(4). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060637. PMID: 23560101.

Bojner Horwitz, E, Stenfors, C, and Osika, W. (2013) Contemplative inquiry in movement- Managing writer's block in academic writing. International journal of transpersonal psychology.

Oxenstierna, G, Magnusson Hanson, LL, Widmark, M, Finnholm, K, Stenfors, C, Elofsson, S, and Theorell,T. (2011) Conflicts at Work- The Relationship with Workplace Factors, Work Characteristics and Self-rated Health. Industrial Health, 49:4, pp. 501-510.



Stenfors C, Bojner Horwitz E, Theorell T, Osika W. (2018) Similarities, disparities, and synergies with other complex interventions. In: Oxford Textbook of Nature and Public Health - The Role of Nature in Improving the Health of a Population. Editors: M. van den Bosch & W. Bird. Oxford University Press.

Stenfors, C. (2018). Naturliga vägar till mänsklig, social och ekologisk hållbarhet. Socialmedicinsk tidskrift, 95(2), 141-149.

Stenfors, C. (2013) Subjective cognitive complaints in the working population- the influence of cognitive functioning and working conditions. Doctoral thesis in Psychology, Stockholm University.

Stenfors, C. (2014) Hjärnhälsa- om stress och stärkande aktiviteter. Bokkapitel i Kulturhälsoboxen, red. Eva Bojner Horwitz. Gothia förlag.


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2013. Cecilia U. D. Stenfors (et al.). PLoS ONE 8 (4), e60637

    Background: Cognitive complaints involving problems with concentration, memory, decision-making and thinking are relatively common in the work force. The sensitivity of both subjective and objective cognitive functioning to common psychiatric conditions, stress levels and to cognitive load makes it plausible that psychosocial working conditions play a role in cognitive complaints. Thus, this study aimed to test the associations between psychosocial work factors and cognitive complaints in nationally representative samples of the Swedish work force. Cross-sectional (n = 9751) and prospective (n = 3644; two time points two years apart) sequential multiple regression analyses were run, adjusting for general confounders, depressive-and sleeping problems. Additional prospective analyses were run adjusting for baseline cognitive complaints. Cross-sectional results: High quantitative demands, information and communication technology (ICT) demands, underqualification and conflicts were positively associated with cognitive complaints, while social support, good resources at work and overqualification were negatively associated with cognitive complaints in all models. Skill discretion and decision authority were weakly associated with cognitive complaints. Conflicts were more strongly associated with cognitive complaints in women than in men, after adjustment for general confounders. Prospective results: Quantitative job demands, ICT demands and underqualification were positively associated with future cognitive complaints in all models, including when adjusted for baseline cognitive complaints. Decision authority was weakly positively associated with future cognitive complaints, only after adjustment for depressive-and sleeping problems respectively. Social support was negatively associated with future cognitive complaints after adjustment for general confounders and baseline cognitive complaints. Skill discretion and resources were negatively associated with future cognitive complaints after adjustment for general confounders. The associations between quantitative demands and future cognitive complaints were stronger in women. Discussion/Conclusions: The findings indicate that psychosocial working conditions should be taken into account when considering cognitive complaints among employees.

  • 2013. Cecilia U. D. Stenfors (et al.). PLoS ONE 8 (12), UNSP e83351

    Background: Cognitive functioning is important for managing work and life in general. However, subjective cognitive complaints (SCC), involving perceived difficulties with concentration, memory, decision making, and clear thinking are common in the general and working population and can be coupled with both lowered well-being and work ability. However, the relation between SCC and cognitive functioning across the adult age-span, and in the work force, is not clear as few population-based studies have been conducted on non-elderly adults. Thus, the present study aimed to test the relation between SCC and executive cognitive functioning in a population-based sample of employees. Methods: Participants were 233 employees with either high (cases) or low (controls) levels of SCC. Group differences in neuropsychological test performance on three common executive cognitive tests were analysed through a set of analyses of covariance tests, including relevant covariates. Results & Conclusions: In line with the a priori hypotheses, a high level of SCC was associated with significantly poorer executive cognitive performance on all three executive cognitive tests used, compared to controls with little SCC. Additionally, symptoms of depression, chronic stress and sleeping problems were found to play a role in the relations between SCC and executive cognitive functioning. No significant associations remained after adjusting for all these factors. The current findings contribute to an increased understanding of what characterizes SCC in the work force and may be used at different levels of prevention of- and intervention for SCC and related problems with executive cognitive functioning.

Visa alla publikationer av Cecilia Stenfors vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 20 augusti 2019

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