Projects

Social Sciences

Beyond the technology determinism of industry 4.0. identifying an inclusive future in the digital transformation

BEYOND 4.0 aims to help deliver an inclusive European future by examining the impact of the new technologies on the future of jobs, business models and welfare. BEYOND 4.0 addresses the general priorities of the H2020 Work Programme (2018-2020) “Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies”.

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PI: Olli Kangas

Rahoittaja: Horizon 2020

Equality in Society (EQUA)

The strategic research programme Equality in Society is focused on equality and on how equality can be promoted. The programme provides funding to research that seeks solutions to support the sustainable and equal renewal of basic public services and benefit schemes. The research consortia are expected to address the following questions:

  • What are the mechanisms of inequality in Finland today?
  • How can equality be promoted in connection with the renewal of basic public services and benefit schemes?
  • In what ways can the public sector best support innovative experimentation, learning by experimentation and institutional change so as to maintain a well-managed transition and successfully renew basic public services and benefit schemes?

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PI: Olli Kangas
Funding: Strategic Reasearch Council

Comparative study of changing family relationships and child maintenance

The project explores how maintenance systems in different countries take into account changed family relationships and gender equality and evaluate child support systems from the perspective of children’s rights. Vignets collected from different countries as well as materials from Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) are used as material.

PI: Academy Research Fellow Mia Hakovirta
Funding: Academy of Finland

Lääkekustannusten taloudellinen rasite kotitalouksille: Dekommodifikaatio ja rekommodifikaatio (DE-RE)

Hankkeessa tutkitaan uudella tavalla lääkepoliittisten järjestelmien institutionaalisia piirteitä ja politiikkojen vaikutuksia. Hanke tuottaa uutta tietoa eri maiden järjestelmien eroista sekä siitä, missä määrin järjestelmillä on itsenäistä vaikutusta lääkkeiden saatavuuteen, yli väestöllisten erojen. Hankkeessa vertaillaan lääkekorvausjärjestelmien korvaavuutta ja kattavuutta sekä arvioidaan, millä tavoin säästötoimenpiteet ovat vaikuttaneet näihin. Aiempaa tutkimusta täydentäen hankkeessa tarkastellaan myös lääkekorvausten ja perusturvaetuuksien toisiaan täydentäviä vaikutuksia. Hankkeen ensimmäisessä osassa tutkitaan miten taloudellinen taantuma ja sen johdosta tehdyt säästötoimet vaikuttivat lääkkeistä koituvaan kotitalouksien taloudelliseen rasitteeseen Suomessa. Vertailevassa osassa tarkastellaan järjestelmien institutionaalisia piirteitä ja eri järjestelmissä lääkkeistä kotitalouksille koituvaa taloudellista rasitetta Euroopan Unionissa.

Hanke on saanut Suomen Akatemian rahoituksen. Hanke toteutetaan Turun yliopistolla ja sen vastuullinen johtaja on Katri Aaltonen.

Intergenerational relations: from single discipline paradigm towards interdisciplinarity (IntRel)

Previous social science studies have been unable to successfully explain why intergenerational family support is unequally distributed across generations. Combining theories and findings from different fields of study, Intergenerational relations: from single discipline paradigm towards interdisciplinarity (IntRel) project will provide an evolutionarily informed sociological model helping to explain the complex nature of intergenerational relations. The project will show whether and how evolutionary relevant factors still shape human behaviour in contemporary affluent societies and in which circumstances the societal development may override the effect of evolutionary rooted tendencies.

IntRel project is funded by the Academy of Finland in 2019–2023. The PIs of the project are Mirkka Danielsbacka and Antti O. Tanskanen. IntRel is carried out at the University of Turku and it is a part of the Academy of Finland’s flagship Invest.

Inequality, early adult life courses and economic outcomes at mid-life in comparative context (EQUALLIVES)

Life-Course Dynamics of Educational Tracking (LIFETRACK)

This project aims to answer the following question: how and why do different educational systems, and in particular their various modes of educational tracking and sorting, influence the formation and reproduction of social inequalities over the life course?

While previous comparative research has identified effects of tracking on educational inequality, this project goes beyond the state of the art by exploring the underlying mechanisms from a dynamic life-course perspective, and by considering long-term consequences of tracking for final educational attainment and labour market outcomes.

The project will focus on both inequality formation in general and inequality dynamics with respect to socioeconomic origin, gender and ethnicity in particular.

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PI: Jani Erola

Perinatal health and transition to adulthood (PETALTO)

PI: Jani Erola

Funding: Academy of Finland

Towards well-informed decisions: Predicting long-term effects of policy reforms on life trajectories (PREDLIFE)

In today’s complex society, with intricate and multiple levels of policy making, it is often difficult to foresee how policy reforms and interventions could come to affect the lives of individuals and the future of their families. It is imperative that we reach a better understanding of the mechanisms that connect policy changes with individuals’ life trajectories.

The goal of the PREDLIFE project is to understand how complex and interdependent life paths unfold over time and how these trajectories are shaped by policy interventions and reforms. In the statistics subproject we will develop a statistical tool for modelling, predicting, and visualizing how policy interventions affect complex social processes.

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PI: Senior Researcher Satu Helske
Funding: Academy of Finland 1.9.2020–30.8.2024.

Falling fertility and the inequalities involved (NEFER)

Falling Fertility and the Inequalities Involved (NEFER) focuses on fertility dynamics and their links to social inequalities, as manifested in the case of Finland and other Nordic countries, which are often seen as forerunners of family change and in developing social and gender equality. These countries are experiencing an unexpected decline in fertility, increases in childlessness, and fundamental shifts in socioeconomic disparities in family formation, challenging the established understanding of the drivers of fertility changes and the underlying mechanisms guiding family formation.

We seek to identify the mechanisms behind this fertility decline, increase in childlessness and the shifting social inequalities involved.

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PI: Senior Researcher Marika Jalovaara

Implementation of a subproject based on a survey of the scientific evaluation of the basic income experimentn

From Ideal to Non-Ideal Egalitarianism: How Stereotypes and Psychological Differences in Preference Influence the Gender-Equality Paradox (EDUFI)

PI: Elina Kilpi-Jakonen
Funding: The Ministry of Education and Culture

Children of immigrants, language and integration across Europe (AT CILIE)

PI: Elina Kilpi-Jakonen
Funding: Academy of Finland

NORFACE Scientific Programme Coordinator

Low birth rate in Europe in early 2000s: differences, causes and consequences

PI: Mikko Niemelä
Funding: Academy of Finland

Tackling Inequalities in Time of Austerity TITA

The consortium project Tackling Inequalities in Time of Austerity (TITA) provides a novel and comprehensive analysis of long-term trends in financial inequalities, inequalities in health and well-being and inequalities of opportunities over the life course, and their links to the moral and political climate in society. Thus, it analyses together multiple forms of inequality (such as income, wealth, consumption, education, family dynamics, health, mortality, trust and deprivation) and their interrelationships.

It introduces a holistic framework for mapping the most crucial target groups for policy measures and ensures feasible policy recommendations for reducing inequalities in society for decades to come. It provides tools for policy-learning, both through within-country studies and cross-national comparisons. It exhausts unique longitudinal and time-series data and top-of-the-art statistical methods to fully explore mechanisms of inequality.

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PI: Mikko Niemelä
Funding: Academy of Finland

Sukulaissuhteet, sukupolvet ja elämänkulku (KinCross)

Antti O. Tanskasen ja Mirkka Danielsbackan ”Sukulaissuhteet, sukupolvet ja elämänkulku” (KinCross) -hankkeessa tutkitaan kahden sukupolven perhesuhteita: suomalaisia suuria ikäluokkia (syntyneet vuosina 1945 – 1950) ja heidän aikuisia lapsiaan (syntyneet vuosina 1964 – 1999).

Hanke on jaettu kolmeen osatutkimukseen, jotka toteutetaan hyödyntämällä Sukupolvien ketju -aineistoja. Ensimmäisessä tutkitaan, miten nykyaikaisen viestintäteknologian käyttö liittyy sukulaisten väliseen yhteydenpitoon ja tukeen. Toisessa hyödynnetään Sukupolvien ketju -aineistojen pitkittäisominaisuutta ja analysoidaan sukulaisuussuhteisiin liittyviä muutoksia ennen taloudellisen taantuman alkamista, taantuman aikana ja sen jälkeen. Kolmannessa osassa käytetään aineistojen retrospektiivistä moduulia ja tarkastellaan miten olosuhteet varhais-, keski- ja myöhäislapsuudessa vaikuttavat sukulaissuhteiden muotoutumiseen elämän aikana.

Hanke tuottaa uutta tietoa sukulaissuhteista elämänkulun eri vaiheissa.

Hanke on saanut Suomen Akatemian rahoituksen ajalle 1.9.2020–30.8.2024.

Suomalaiset väestötason rekisteriaineistot

Vastuullinen johtaja Jani Erola

Suomi ulkonäköyhteiskuntana

Vastuullinen johtaja: Outi Sarpila

Rahoitus: Emil Aaltosen säätiö

Ulkonäön taloudellisten seurausten sosiaaliset mekanismit (SOMA)

SOMA (The social mechanisms behind the economic consequences of physical appearance) on Suomen Akatemian vuosina 2019-2023 rahoittama tutkimushanke, jossa selvitetään ulkonäön taloudellisten seurausten sosiaalisia mekanismeja. Aikaisemmat selitykset ulkonäön taloudellisia seurauksia synnyttävästä mekanismista palautuvat oletukseen kauneudesta yksinomaan hyvää tuottavana ominaisuutena. Viime vuosien aikana on kuitenkin tapahtunut muutos ulkonäön taloudellisten seurausten ymmärryksessä.

Hanke pyrkii selvittämään ulkonäön merkitystä taloudellisessa vaihdossa tarkastellen ulkonäköä sekä kauneuden että ammattialan mukaisen ulkonäön näkökulmasta. Ulkonäön vaikutuksia tarkastellaan sekä sukupuolittain ja eri ammattialojen näkökulmasta, ottaen huomioon mies- ja naisvaltaiset alat, että seka-alat.

Tutkimuksessa analysoidaan tuhansien suomalaisten kasvokuvat ja ammatit yhdistävää aineistoa, joiden avulla tutkitaan ulkonäön taloudellisia vaikutuksia eri ammattialoilla. Sekä kuvia koskevat arvioinnit että sosiaalinen koeasetelma toteutetaan laajoina väestötason kyselyinä Suomessa.

Hankkeen tavoitteena on löytää uusi mekanismi, joka selittäisi ulkonäöstä yksilöille koituvat taloudelliset hyödyt ja haitat nykyisiä selitysmalleja paremmin.

Hanketta johtaa Outi Sarpila

Lasten vuoroasuminen ja sosiaaliturva

Lasten vuoroasuminen ja sosiaaliturva on Kelan, Turun yliopiston ja Tampereen yliopiston tutkimushanke, jossa haetaan tietoa yleistyvästä lasten vuoroasumisesta ja siihen liittyvästä tuen tarpeesta. Monille eroperheille tärkeät tukimuodot, asumistuki, toimeentulotuki ja monet perhepoliittiset etuudet sekä palvelut, eivät juuri ota huomioon lasten vuoroasumista. Vuoroasumisen yleistyminen edellyttää monien sosiaalietuuksien ja oikeuksien määräytymisperusteiden uudelleenarviointia.

Hankkeessa selvitetään lasten vuoroasumisen yleisyyttä ja sen piirteitä laajalla eroperheisiin kohdistuvalla valtakunnallisella kyselyllä. Tämän lisäksi hankkeessa arvioidaan, minkälaisia taloudellisia vaikutuksia lasten vuoroasumisen huomioimisella olisi asumistuki-, elatustuki- ja toimeentulotukimenojen kannalta. Lisäksi tehdään laskelmia etuusjärjestelmämuutosten vaikutuksista perheiden toimeentuloon. Kansainvälisen vertailutiedon sekä kirjallisuuskatsauksen avulla kerätään käytäntöjä ja kokemuksia lasten vuoroasumisen huomioimisesta muiden muiden maiden sosiaaliturva- ja etuusjärjestelmissä, ja arvioidaan niiden sopivuutta suomalaiseen sosiaaliturvajärjestelmään.

Turun yliopiston tutkijoiden, Mia Hakovirran ja Mari Haapasen vastuulla hankkeessa ovat erityisesti vuoroasumisen ja etuusjärjestelmien kansainvälinen vertailu sekä lapsen elatukseen liittyvät kysymykset.

Life course experiences, intergenerational processes, and child well-being and development

Tämän monitieteisen projektin tarkoituksena on tutkia miten vanhempien sosioekonomiset ja perheurat vaikuttavat heidän lastensa hyvinvointiin ja varhaiskehitykseen. Projektiin kuuluu tutkijoita sekä sosiaali- että lääketieteistä.

Raskausajan ja varhaislapsuuden olosuhteilla on havaittu olevan merkittävä vaikutus psykologiseen ja fysiologiseen kehitykseen. Vaikutukset ulottuvat aina aikuisiän terveyteen ja esimerkiksi saavutettuun koulutustasoon sekä taloudelliseen ja ammatilliseen asemaan saakka. Olosuhteet eivät kuitenkaan ole jakautuneet tasaisesti lasten ja heidän perheidensä kesken, vaan sosiaalista eriarvoisuutta ilmenee jo varhaislapsuudessa.

Projektissa lasten hyvinvointiin ja kehitykseen vaikuttavia tekijöitä lähestytään uudesta näkökulmasta tavalla, jota ei aiemmin juuri ole käytetty sosiaalisen ja terveydellisen eriarvoisuuden tutkimuksessa. Tämä mahdollistaa myös uuden lasten hyvinvointia ja kehitystä tukevan sekä lasten olosuhteiden eriarvoisuutta koskevan tiedon tuottamisen. Tutkimuksen tuottamaa uudenlaista ymmärrystä voidaan käyttää hyväksi sosiaalisia interventioita suunniteltaessa, joiden avulla voidaan puuttua havaittuihin eriarvoisuuksiin esimerkiksi vanhemmuutta tukevin keinoin.​ Tutkimuksessa yhdistetään tietoja FinnBrain-kohorttitutkimuksesta sosioekonomisia elämänkaaria kuvaaviin väestörekisteritietoihin.

Vastuullinen johtaja Matti Lindberg

Rahoitus: Suomen Akatemia

Kirjallisuuskatsaus "Miten nuoret ja heidän vanhempansa hahmottavat tarjolla olevat palvelut ja käyttävät niitä"

Vastuullinen johtaja Mikko Niemelä

Social Policy

BIBU – Kansalaisuuden kulut ja kuplat

BIBU eli Kansalaisuuden kuilut ja kuplat / Tackling Biases and Bubbles in Participation – tutkimushanke selvittää, kuinka globaalit muutokset – talouden rakennemuutos, kaupungistuminen ja muuttoliike – muuttavat kansalaisten toimintakykyä, poliittisia tunteita ja intressejä sekä sitä kuinka poliittinen päätöksenteko vastaa näihin muutoksiin. Monitieteisessä konsortiossa on mukana politiikan, psykologian, sosiaalipolitiikan, sosiologian, taloustieteen ja viestinnän tutkijoita.

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Osallistavan sosiaaliturvan kokeilu

Kokeilun tavoitteena on nostaa aikuisia, pitkään työttömänä olleita ihmisiä pois toimeentulotuelta ja löytää polkuja osallisuuteen ja työllistymiseen. Osallisuus nähdään laajasti ihmisen taloudellisena, sosiaalisena ja toimintakyvyllisenä hyvinvointina.

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Psychology

Persistent bullying cases: towards tailored intervention approaches to maximize efficiency (CHALLENGE)

Bullying in schools is widespread, with adverse effects on youth and high costs for societies. Research on bullying prevention has so far focused on average effects of anti-bullying programs and mainly concerned universal, preventive measures. While important, this has overshadowed attempts to uncover how exactly school personnel intervene in particular bullying cases and when and why that fails. CHALLENGE will open up new research horizons by shifting the focus from average program effects to the characteristics and conditions of youth who remain victimized or continue bullying despite targeted interventions.

> CHALLENGE website

PI: Professor Christina Salmivalli
Funding: European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant

Graduation during the covid pandemic?

A study on adolescents completing their upper secondary level studies during the covid-19 pandemic. The project collected a survey from students and published the results in Autumn 2020. The survey data will be used in a PhD research (Juuso Repo).

PI: Professor Christina Salmivalli
Funding: Ministry of Education and Culture

KiVa School®, Program against bullying

KiVa is an antibullying program that has been developed in the University of Turku, Finland, with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture. The program is evidence-based which means that the effectiveness of KiVa has been proven scientifically. KiVa offers a wide range of concrete tools and materials for schools to tackle bullying.

KiVa is in use in more than 20 countries.

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PI: Christina Salmivalli

Opintokamu®, Tools for students' wellbeing in upper secondary level schools

The Opintokamu program provides easily deployable and motivational tools for students’ wellbeing.

PI: PhD, Specialist Elisa Poskiparta

Inside the Mind of Adolescent Bullying Perpetrators (BULLYMIND)

The BULLYMIND project aims to identify the cognitions that underlie the adolescents’ decision to instigate bullying against a peer. The current consensus among researchers is that bullies are motivated by the achievement of high popularity. This perspective is influential in the development of new anti-bullying strategies, but fails to consider that, despite being perceived as popular, adolescent bullies are generally disliked. The project addresses the following question: If gains in popularity motivate bullying behaviour, why do losses in likeability not prevent it?

Findings will have important implications for practice as well as theoretical implications for models of aggression and peer status.

PI/Team Leader: Assistant Professor Claire Garandeau

Improving the implementation of school-based programs promoting youth well-being (IMPRES)

The main goal of IMPRES (Implementation research project) is to gain knowledge on the implementation and sustainability of school-based programs promoting youth well-being, and thus to improve the effectiveness of them. In practice, we are investigating the implementation of KiVa antibullying programme developed in Finland from 2010 onwards. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are utilized. New tools to support schools in implementing prevention programs are being developed and evaluated.

PI/Team Leader: Senior Researcher Sanna Herkama
Funding: Turku University Foundation 2020-2021

Reducing Bullying by Increasing Empathy: From Virtual Reality to Actual Behavior? (VICARIOUS)

The VICARIOUS project aims to pilot a Virtual-Reality (VR) tool that makes users experience bullying by peers. Ethical aspects are considered and the study is planned carefully so as not to cause any actual harm to the participants. The short and long-term effectiveness of exposure to victual victimization in raising children’s empathy and changing their behavior in real-life bullying situations will be tested. Inter-individual differences in participants’ responses, at the neural (using brain imaging), emotional and behavioral levels will be investigated.

PI/Team Leader: Assistant Professor Claire Garandeau

Opintokamu II

Opintokamu is a well-being program for secondary education institutions. In the new project we continue the development of the Opintokamu portal by adding a tool to evaluate one’s strengths and challenges in the areas of studies, social relations, and mental well-being, and to get feedback thereof.

PIs: PhD, Specialist Elisa Poskiparta and Professor Christina Salmivalli

Funding: Ministry of Education and Culture  (1.1.2021-31.5.2022)

Following up on Finnish KiVa schools and program effectiveness

This project focuses on Finnish schools registered as users of the KiVa antibullying program, comparing them with schools that never registered. The extent to which indicators of program implementation are linked to changes in bullying and victimization in Finland since 2009 is examined. The aim is to address the question of whether there is evidence of effectiveness of the KiVa program when implemented across several years in real-world conditions.

The project utilizes combined longitudinal data collected as part of two large-scale survey studies: the annual KiVa student survey and the biannual School Health Promotion Study (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare). Results will shed a light on the levels of, and rates of change in, bullying and victimization in KiVa schools and non-KiVa schools as well as on the implications of implementation-related indicators. Challenges and possibilities in investigating the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of school-based programs will also be discussed.

PI/Team Leader: Senior Researcher Silja Saarento-Zaprudin

Tita - a mindfulness app for upper secondary students

Tita is a digital mindfulness-based program for upper secondary education students. It was found to alleviate anxiety and depression and increase happiness in participants in a nationwide randomized controlled trial. An expanded new Tita app will be out in late 2021 and will be available in the majority of educational institutions like the previous version of Tita. Tita’s effects are being researched in our lab.

PI/Team Leader: Senior Researcher Oskari Lahtinen
Funding: Turku University Foundation (1.4.-1.8.2022)

The Roles of Victimization and Social Status in Adolescents’ Risk Behaviors and Psychosocial Adjustment

Peer victimization is a serious problem that is related to detrimental behavioral, social, and emotional adjustment for youth, including aggression and substance use. Although most research on the topic has focused on marginalized victims (i.e., those with low social status), growing evidence suggests that high-status youth are also at risk for victimization which is troubling as high-status youth are already more likely to be aggressive and to engage in substance use. Popular adolescents may be particularly sensitive to challenges to their social standing (i.e., victimization), and therefore may engage in behaviors intended to maintain status.

This project aims to examine the potential consequences of high-status adolescents’ experiences of victimization for both individuals (e.g., aggression, health-risk behaviors) as well as the larger peer group (e.g., increased levels of aggression in the classroom).

PI: Senior Researcher Sarah Malamut
Funding: National Institutes of Health (NIH), 28.9.2020 – 27.9.2023

Fostering Finnish Science Capital (FINSCI)

The FINSCI consortium is led by the University of Turku, and it includes the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Science Center Heureka, and science association Skope ry. The project is funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) established within the Academy of Finland. The Fostering Finnish Science Capital (FINSCI) project aims to investigate and develop Finnish science capital, i.e. the possibilities for individuals to interact with science and get to know people in science, as well as their scientific literacy, critical thinking and science communication skills. The work package hosted by the department of psychology focuses on the role of emotions in learning and understanding scientific information.

Project’s website

PI/Team Leader: Consortium leader, University lecturer Johanna K. Kaakinen

Funding: Strategic Research Council, 1.10.2020-30.9.2023

Immersion in literary narrative: Emotional and cognitive processes (IMMERSED)

DESCRIPTION: IMMERSED takes a psychological perspective on literary experience, with a specific focus on immersion. We examine how emotionally provoking texts capture attention and/or induce mind-wandering during reading and audiobook listening by utilising laboratory measures like eye tracking and EEG recordings.

PI/Team Leader: Consortium leader, University lecturer Johanna K. Kaakinen

Funding: Academy of Finland, 1.1.2021-31.12.2024

Child Psychiatry

Voimaperheet

Voimaperheet develops, evaluates and implements digitally delivered, low-threshold preventive and early care interventions aiming at increasing the psychosocial wellbeing of children, adolescent and families. The goal is to transfer the focus of treatment from specialized services to prevention.

The interventions target mental health problems with high public health significance during critical developmental transition periods from pregnancy to adolescence. The targeted treatment and universal preventive services are built on evidence-based methods to promote self-efficacy and psychosocial skills, and prevent later adversities in life.

Targeted interventions

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for Maternal Antenatal Depression
  • Parent Training Intervention for Disruptive Behavior in 4-Year-Old Children
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for Anxiety among School-Aged Children

Universal interventions

  • Parent Training Intervention for Families with 3-Year-Old Children
  • Mental Health Literacy Intervention for University Students
    In-service training for early childhood education staff

PI: André Sourander
Funding: Academy of Finland, ERC

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Astonishing Years implementation study

PI: André Sourander
Funding: ITLA

A national birth cohort study of prenatal factors and neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders

The Finnish Prenatal Studies is a large case-control study examining prenatal and early development factors associated with major neuropsychiatric disorders. The subprojects include studies on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD, conduct disorder, anxiety, Tourette Syndrome, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

FIPS is the largest seroepidemiologic study of prenatal exposures in psychiatric disorders using archived prenatal sera, based on the Finnish Maternity Cohort (FMC). The samples were obtained from over 98% of all pregnancies in Finland in 1983-2016 (2 million pregnancies) during the first trimester.

The team has used register based information including obstetric complications, gestational age and birth weight, indicators for hypoxia, neonatal disorders, family psychopathology, and parental age. The findings include showing that several maternal prenatal biomarkers including cotinine, vitamin D and inflammatory markers, other early developmental factors, and family history of psychiatric disorder are independently associated with neuropsychiatric disorders

PI and co-PI’s: prof. André Sourander, docent Heljä-Marja Surcel, docent David Gyllenberg, MD, PhD Kim Kronström, docent Roshan Chudal, prof. Alan Brown (Columbia University).

Main funding: National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Mental health, Autism Speaks Foundation, several other foundations and Turku University Hospital expert responsibility area (ERVA) State Research Funding.

Prenatal and Early Infancy Risk Factors of ADHD – A Nationwide Biomarker and Register-Based Study

This project addresses identification of environmental risk factors, as well as their interaction with familial susceptibility. The study overall offers the promise of facilitating translational research to uncover pathogenic mechanisms by which these exposures alter fetal brain development and lead to ADHD. This could result in an improved understanding of the mechanisms by which in utero insults alter postnatal brain development in ADHD and potentially target infants at high risk for the disorder.

The project addresses the following themes: 1) make use of serological biomarkers and interaction of several environmental exposures such as maternal inflammation, smoking, thyroid function and vitamin-D deficiency during pregnancy; 2) measures of arterial pH and early childhood diseases; and 3) transgenerational family clustering of psychiatric disorders.

The project utilizes a large nationally representative sample that has shown high diagnostic validity including 10,409 ADHD cases born since 1991. To further decrease the risk of unmeasured confounding, such as social adversity and inherited factors, a complementary sibling analysis is conducted. This design will allow automatically excluding confounding of all shared environmental and a substantial proportion of genetic factors. The study is be a starting point for future genetic studies and gene-environment interactions in ADHD.

PI: André Sourander

Funding: Academy of Finland

Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven COVID-19 anxiety management intervention

Families are finding themselves facing unexpected challenges e.g. on coping with heightened anxiety caused by COVID-19, work and childcare balance leading failing to recognize and respond to children’s cues or distress including emotional needs.

The objectives of this project are 1) to design an evidence-based, conversational, AI-driven anxiety management tool for web and mobile based on cognitive behavioural therapy techniques; 2) to study short-term and long-term outcome of the remote anxiety intervention program; 3) to gain knowledge of parent’s and children’s mental health and their experiences of social isolation.

PI: André Sourander, Co-PI Jayden Khakurel

Funding: Academy of Finland

Development Pathways and Autism Spectrum Disorders (DoD)

PI Heljä-Marja Surcel

Funding: NIH

Infant Brain Rhythms: From Smart Clothes to Computational Analysis and Therapy Monitoring (RIB)

PI: André Sourander

Funding: Academy of Finland

Maternal Exposure to Antidepressants and Psychiatric Outcomes Among Offspring in a National Birth Cohort

The project investigates long-term risk factors in offspring for the maternal use of SSRIs during pregnancy, whether the fetus is particularly sensitive to the effects of SSRIs at a spesific stage of pregnancy and whether there are differences between the antidepressants in terms of fetal safety.

Registers used: Medical Birth Register, Register of Congenital Malformations, Drug Reimbursement Register, Hospital Discharge Register, Population Register,

Follow-up years:1996‒2021

PI & co-PI’s: Heli Malm, David Gyllenberg, Andre Sourander, Susanna Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, Mika Gissler, Alan Brown (Columbia University, New York)

Funding: National Institutes of Mental Health

Psychiatric symptoms and service use among children and adolescents before and after the COVID-19 epidemic

Psychiatric problems among children and adolescents are at great risk to increase

following the COVID-19 epidemic. As mental health among youth can have long-term consequences, it is of great significance to identify the type of psychiatric problems and related service use that might change over time. To reliably identify such associations, systematically collected population-based data both before and after the COVID-19 epidemic need to be analysed.

This project will demonstrate to what degree there have been changes in psychiatric symptoms and related service use following the COVID-19 epidemic. The research outputs are expected to inform targeted public health interventions that can mitigate the consequences of the epidemic.

We have previously shown a major increase in service use for psychiatric disorders among children and adolescents, but minor temporal changes in psychiatric symptoms among children, adolescents and young adults based on long-term time-trend studies. The project provides a unique possibility to combine reliable baseline data to data collected after the COVID-19 epidemic. The project utilizes repeated cross-sectional studies of children, adolescents and males at military call-up-study. In addition, data on service use and sociodemographic factors are collected. To study rarer outcomes, we will utilize national register data of cohorts of all children born between 1996 and 2018 (N»1.3Million).

PI: David Gyllenberg

Funding: Academy of Finland

Risk factors for the fetal period, cognitive performance in adolescence and schizophrenia

Finnish Psychiatric Birth Cohort Consortium (PSYCOHORTS)

The Finnish Psychiatric Birth Cohort Consortium (PSYCOHORTS) combines the major prospectively designed Finnish psychiatric birth cohorts. The integration of these cohorts will enable us to address issues related to the development, trajectories and life outcomes of psychiatric disorders.

Unique from a global perspective, Finland has several nationwide registers and a biobank of maternal sera. Linkages can be made between registers, biobank data and records from health check-ups. The PSYCOHORTS Consortium comprises of eight prospective birth cohorts in Finland: the Northern Finland Birth Cohorts 1966 and 1986, Finnish 1981 Birth Cohort Study, Finnish Prenatal Studies, 1987 and 1997 Birth Cohorts, SSRI pregnancy cohort and Southwest Finland Birth Cohort. The integration of these cohorts enables us to address issues related to the life course development of psychiatric disorders. Data spanning from 1960s to date allows us to study time trends between different cohorts and between different time points.

PI and Co-PIs: André Sourander, Mika Gissler, Juha Veijola (University of Oulu)

Funding: Academy of Finland