Sofia Zettermark

Sofia Zettermark

Research student, Medical doctor, MD, Affiliated with the university

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Personal profile


The overarching goal of this interdisciplinary PhD project is to further an understanding of the role of hormonal contraception in mental health of young women while centring women’s own perspectives. Both medical-epidemiological models of explanation and social theory will be applied within two quantitative and two qualitative studies to illuminate this so far understudied research area. Two register based pharmacoepidemiological studies has already been performed. 

As of today, mental health issues are much more prevalent among women than among men, a divergence that starts at the onset of puberty. Against this gendered discrepancy in mental health issues, it becomes relevant to investigate what role hormonal contraception plays in this context. In the public mind and in mass media, hormonal contraception is deemed as having an important effect on mental health, while the relatively scarce scientific studies in the area paints a more ambivalent picture.

The knowledge produced within the project aims to contribute to a safer use of hormonal contraceptives and a democratisation where women who use hormonal contraceptives are viewed as subjects of knowledge, which is fundamental to achieve reproductive justice. The project will fill a knowledge gap of great importance to women’s health through critical analysis of hormonal contraceptive use and experiences thereof from different perspectives: epidemiological studies, consensus within the medical profession and official communication outlets, online discourse and lived experiences through in depth interviews. The theoretical framework, intersectionality theory and reproductive justice, is furthermore used to address known interdisciplinary frictions, contributing to theoretical development.

Societal impact

Pressmeddelandet från vår första studie fick stort genomslag och kan läsas i sin helhet här.

En ny, stor registerstudie från Lunds universitet visar att det finns ett samband mellan bruk av hormonella preventivmedel och ökad förskrivning av psykotropa läkemedel bland flickor och kvinnor i tonåren.

Huruvida p-piller, hormonspiral och andra hormonella preventivmedel kan leda till att kvinnor blir nedstämda, drabbas av depression eller på annat vis mår psykiskt dåligt är omdebatterat. Och trots att många kvinnor vittnar om sådana erfarenheter har forskningen hittills inte gett någon entydig bild:

– Det finns en skillnad mellan den kliniska vardagen och forskningen. Det finns många tonåriga och unga kvinnor som vittnar om att de mår dåligt av hormonella preventivmedel. Men forskningen har haft svårt att förklara fenomenet, berättar Sofia Zettermark, genusvetare och doktorand vid Lunds universitet samt AT-läkare vid Kiruna sjukhus.


Professional work

My PhD project is carried out part time, as I also work in the clinic as an MD. I currently work at a primary care centre in a socioeconomically challenged area in northeast Gothenburg and aim to specialise within primary health care. 



Medical doctor (MD) and Master of Science in Medicine (MSc), Faculty of Medicine Lund University, 2017 

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Gender Studies, Faculty of humanities Uppsala University, 2012 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

UKÄ subject classification

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Gender Studies

Free keywords

  • Intersectionality
  • Hormonal contraception
  • Social Epidemiology
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Women's health
  • Gender Studies
  • Discourse analysis
  • Lived experience
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Interviews


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