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The impact of neighbourhoods, peers and families on psychiatric disorders, substance use disorders and crime in first- and second-generation immigrants.

Summary: The successful integration of the high numbers of refugees is one of the most critical issues facing the EU today. We propose to identify factors at the neighbourhood-, family-, peer-, and individual- levels that may protect immigrant children, adolescents and adults from psychiatric disorders, substance use disorders, and crime.

We have access to highly accurate and almost complete nationwide sociodemographic data from 1960-2018 including, but not limited to, country of birth, education, income, employment, and social welfare, school grades, and reason for immigration linked to nationwide inpatient- and outpatient health care data, family relations, neighbourhood socioeconomic factors and indices of 250,000 neighbourhood goods and services.

These timely data are available for more than 3 million 1st and 2nd generation immigrants, including over half a million more recent immigrants from the Middle East and Africa. We will apply different causal models and our novel designs (e.g., identification of deprived immigrant enclaves, deviant peer contexts, and natural experiments) to examine our aims.

We are in a unique position to carry out the entire sequence of the proposed research from direct clinical observations, formulation of novel hypotheses and use of innovative analytic methods to interpretation of findings tailored to subgroups of immigrant populations. Findings from Sweden are highly relevant to the EU as around 25% of the entire population are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants. Our findings will delineate meaningful subgroups of immigrants, including refugees, similar to those in other EU countries.

Based on our results, we will develop recommendations at the neighbourhood-, family-, peer-, and individual-levels that, when tailored appropriately, will help guide EU policies and strategies, thus leading to decreased strain on health and social services, improved psychiatric health and successful integration of immigrant populations.

Participants: Prof. Jan Sundquist (PI); Prof Kristina Sundquist, Universitetslektor Xinjun Li, Universitetslektor Ashfaque Memon. Post docs: Ardavan Khoshnood, MD, PhD, Mehdi Osooli. Doctoral students: Sanjay Thompson, Wazah Pello Esso, Kenta Okuyama

Administrative support: Susanne Andrén


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 787592).

HORIZON 2020 “The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

PI Jan Sundquist
Lund University/Department of clinical sciences

Last updated: 10 October 2023

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