Elisabeth Søndergaard

Elisabeth Søndergaard

PhD Student

I am an Anthropologist specialized in Medical Anthropology.
Previously, I have worked with different perceptions of metal illnesses and the various treatments people seek accordingly. I have done research on this subject in African contexts as well as among immigrants in Denmark.

Areas of interest
My fields of interest are children's health, social inequality in health, the social gradiant in health, multimorbidity, different understandings of health and disease, qualitative research methods and mixed methods

Ongoing research
In February 2015 I started my Industrial PhD project titled "Social relationships’ influence on children’s health. An anthropological study of social relationships and health among children from poor socioeconomic areas on Lolland-Falster”.

The project is carried out in cooperation between the Research Unit for General Practice and Region Zealand’s office for ‘Quality and Development’.

Through the study I will explore how poor socioeconomic conditions during childhood influence the risk of developing diseases. Recent studies in multimorbidity (having two or more chronic diseases) indicate that there is an association between adult patients with multimorbidity and having experienced one’s childhood as difficult. We know that children of ill parents are both more ill and more lonely than peers with healthy parents. This association is supported by other studies showing that children's relationships are vital both for the experience of their childhood and for their current and future health profile. With the social gradient in health in mind it is therefore important to investigate social relationships among children in socio-economically disadvantaged families with multimorbid parents.

The project is an anthropological mixed methods study. The qualitative part mainly consists of participant observations, interviews and 'draw-and-talk'-sessions. Through these methods I will explore how children perceive their social relations, and what influence the relationships have on the child's health-related actions. The quantitative part of the study will, through the use of register data combined with data from a planned Population study in Lolland-Falster, examine how socio-economic factors, multimorbidity among parents, and the number and character of social relationships affect children's health and their use of health services.

The project’s results are expected to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of children's risk of developing diseases. By gainer more insight it becomes possible to identify areas that affect health negatively, as well as factors that can act as resources so that a potential negative development is avoided.

ID: 43549545