Chapter 1 ACADEMIC COMPETENCE

In my research, I have investigated social inequalities in mental health, conducted psychometric analyses, and studied development, risk- and protective factors for mental health and well-being over several age-periods using a variety of analytical and statistical procedures, utilizing data from cross-sectional and longitudinal regional-, national- and cross-national surveys, and from national data registries.

This far in my academic career, I have authored or co-authored many publications (journal articles, book chapters, reports and chronicles), mostly in international peer-reviewed journals [1–46] (see details in the enclosed list of publications). My publications have been cited 1292 times, (h-index = 17; i10-index = 27; data retrieved 12.08.2021 from Google Scholar).

I am the first author of several articles published in peer-reviewed international journals [1–12] and the senior author on many [13–19]. I have also published papers in peer-reviewed Norwegian journals [46–53], I am the single author of two reports, [54, 55], have co-authored one report and one book chapter [56, 57] and have written one chronicle [58], and I have presented peer-reviewed abstracts at national and international conferences [59–70].

I have investigated different age periods and developmental phases ranging from pre-schoolers [5], school-aged and pre-adolescent children [2], adolescents [10], students/young adults [1, 28], and adults and elderly [9]. In these investigations, I have utilised different datasets such as regional surveys [2], national surveys [5], international comparative datasets [9] and clinical data [53]. I have been responsible for linkages between survey data and national registers and used linked data to investigate associations with household income [8, 17] and register-based educational outcomes [16]. I have used different analytical approaches in my research, including structural equation modelling strategies [3, 4], latent class and linear mixed model analysis [8, 17, 38, 40], exploratory- and confirmatory factor analytical approaches [33, 39], pattern classification approaches [34], and psychometric analyses, including modern approaches to validity and reliability analysis, item response analyses and measurement invariance testing [6, 13, 33]. As detailed in my CV, I have collaborated with international researchers in nine projects, and co-published with international authors on 15 articles published in international peer-reviewed journals. See also the prodded references for my research competence.

Broadly, my research can be categorised into three main areas: 1) Social health inequalities, 2) psychometric investigations, and 3) epidemiological investigations into development and risk-factors.

1.1 Social health inequalities

My interests in contextual influences on mental health has led me to conduct several investigations into the influential role of economic and educational resources on child and adolescent mental health, which was the topic of my thesis [71]. I have described associations between objective and subjective indicators of families’ economic and parents’ educational status and the mental health of pre-schoolers [5], school-aged children [2, 55], adolescents [8, 10] and students [1], and investigated the role of mechanisms such as family processes [4] and sleep problems [3, 31] in these associations. I have investigated how of socioeconomic circumstances in childhood is associated to sleep problems [38], substance use [17], sport-participation [18], intelligence [25] and health complaints [36], and how financial circumstances in childhood relates to symptoms of depression among adults and elderly [9]. I have researched the role of subjective indicators of socioeconomic status on health outcomes [10], and how income and subjective status covaries and relates to each other [11]. I was the sole author of a report on social inequalities in child mental health commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate of Health [54] and I have first-authored a book chapter on a similar topic [57]. Together with colleagues in the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s expert group for social health inequalities, we summarized and published recommendations of how to combat social health inequalities [20]. I am co-investigator in an intervention project where we restructure services for low-income families, where the first article from the project was recently published [@ 35].

1.2 Psychometric investigations

I have an interest in measurement, and have conducted several psychometric investigations into commonly used survey instruments [39], including the use of Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) among older adolescents [6], in foster children [33], and in children with cerebral palsy [24], and we have investigated measurement equivalence of the SDQ in longitudinal data [13]. I have contributed several papers to the Norwegian peer-reviewed journal PsykTestBarn, where the aim is to investigate the utility of instruments used to survey aspects of children and adolescent mental health in a Norwegian context [47–52].

1.3 Epidemiological investigations into development and risk-factors

I have taken a general interest in further understanding the distribution, patterns and determinants of mental health and healthy development. I have contributed to several epidemiological investigations of associations between different predictors and various health-related outcomes across childhood and into early adulthood. I was the main supervisor of one PhD-candidate who investigated association between parental divorce and mental health [14], health complaints [15] and educational outcomes [16]. Across several studies, we have investigated risk factors for alcohol and drug use [26, 40, 41] and developmental outcomes associated with prenatal exposure to substances [37]. I have contributed to studies of factors related to school attendance, absence and drop-out [27], the role of primary school inattention for future school achievement [34], and we have conducted studies into loneliness [28] and sleep problems [32] among higher education students. We have investigated consequences for children that experience negative life events [7] and the role of resilience in buffering adverse health-related outcomes [23], and I am now main supervisor for one PhD-candidate (to be completed in 2025), where we investigate these associations further using survey and clinical data obtained from the Norwegian Patient Registry.

1.4 Ongoing research and future plans

I am currently involved in several research projects. Please see my project page in CRISTIN (Current Research Information System In Norway).