Tea Lallukka: No one should be forced to bear the responsibility for their health and wellbeing alone

The professor of medical sociology studies what contributes to the work ability of people with different social backgrounds, and how to maintain their health and ability to work even after their professional career.

What are your research topics?

My research is focused on how socioeconomic status determines health, sleep and health behaviour, that is, dietary habits, exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking, among other factors. In particular, I focus on the health-related functioning of working-age people and their risk of becoming unable to work, as well as their social and work- and health-related determinants over the life span.

Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact? 

I hope that we can identify factors that promote opportunities for not only longevity but a good quality of life for all. I’m also interested in how our society could better support especially those in the most disadvantaged positions to maintain their health and functional capacity before employment as well as during and after their professional careers.

Most importantly, it is vital to pay attention to children and the earliest phases of life, because the early years and other factors can contribute to individuals’ opportunities for education, attachment to paid employment, career stability and health later in life. No one should be forced to bear the responsibility for their health and wellbeing alone.

What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?

I am interested in new research methods that help identify novel at-risk groups. I am especially interested in modifiable risk factors that explain and contribute to the maintenance of people's health and functional capacity during their professional careers and after the transition to retirement. Modifiable factors entail factors that enable intervention, such as working conditions and health behaviour.

 

Tea Lallukka is a professor of medical sociology at the Faculty of Medicine.