Ilona Koupil, Professor at the Department of Public Health Sciences

Ilona Koupil, Professor at the Department of Public Health Sciences, has received a grant from Forte (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare) for the research project "Developmental origins of women's health". Project funding amounts to 3 830 000 SEK. Project duration: 2019-2022.

This proposed study is highly original in combining the theory of developmental origins of health and disease with research on social determinants of health to address the specific burden of disease among adult women and to contribute to better understanding of the mechanisms and pathways that generate social and gender inequalities in health. The study is efficient in employing existing data sources and involving senior researchers with extensive experience from life course analyses. The proposed analyses are, however, original and have not been implemented within the existing studies. Futhermore, by focusing on specific health outcomes in women, we are filling a gap in understanding the burden, distribution and aetiology of endometriosis and other underresearched yet common health conditions in women.

Project summary

In this project we will integrate research on social determinants of health with the life course model of pregnancy and childbirth as a sensitive period in the life courses of parents and offspring.

This research project will study life course determinants of women's health in adult life, at peri-menopause and in old age. Additional analyses will study how social mobility and reproductive history are associated with health in old age, and how these associations vary according to gender.

A large multigenerational study of Swedish men and women (Uppsala Birth Cohort Multigenerational study) is the main source of data for our life course analyses. We plan to employ traditional statistical methods (multivariable linear, logistic, multinomial logistic and Cox regression), family designs and mediation analysis within the project. Additional comparative analyses will use a nation-wide linkage of Swedish data and information from the Mothers and their Children's Health study.

The results of this project will help to (i) identify resilient and vulnerable population groups, (ii) detect sensitive periods during the life course and combinations of different aspects of adversity that generate inequities, and (iii) document heterogeneity of effects across historical and geographical contexts with different types of social, family and health policies. These outputs can lead to better, more effective interventions for both genders and stimulate further research into life course determinants of women's health.

Collaborators and co-applicants:

Professor Ilona Koupil (principle investigator, project leader), Stockholm University/Karolinska Institutet
Dr Anna Goodman, Stockholm University/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Docent Anna Rignell-Hydbom, Lund University
Professor Jonas Björk, Lund University
Professor Kirk Scott, Lund University
Guest Professor Gita Mishra, University of Queensland