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The SOFIA-study

Logo of the SOFIA-study

The SOFIA-study is an ongoing prospective longitudinal study of children's social, behavioral, and physical development. SOFIA stands for Social and Physical development, Interventions, and Adaptation.

A group of young people looking into the camera. They are happy.
Three young people looking into the camera. They look happy.

In the SOFIA-study, approximately 2000 children in a medium-sized Swedish municipality have been followed since they attended preschool at the ages of 3, 4 and 5 years old. Thus, the SOFIA-study includes three age cohorts. So far, parents and teachers have answered questions about the child and the child's situation at six different times during the 2010s and 2020s. In the latest data collections, the study also included self-reports from the children themselves. The long-term plan is to continue following these children into and throughout adulthood.

The SOFIA-study aims to:

1. Better understand the development of children's social, physical, and mental health, including deviant behavior (such as rule-breaking and defiance).
2. Examine the interventions provided and how collaboration evolves over time concerning children with noted difficulties.
3. Provide knowledge about children's development that can be used to improve interventions and practical work with children.

The SOFIA-study is a collaboration between Karlstad municipality, Karlstad University, and Örebro University.

Data within the framework of the SOFIA-study has been collected as follows:

The SOFIA-study uses multiple informants. Data has been gathered through web surveys answered by the children (in the last two data collections), parents, teachers, and school principals. So far, six data collections have been conducted during the 2010s and 2020s. Data collection began when all the children were in preschool, and the last one was conducted when the children were in high school.

  • The survey for children takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, and the students answered it at school.
  • The survey for parents takes about 30-35 minutes.
  • The survey for teachers takes approximately 25-30 minutes.
  • The survey for principals takes about 10-15 minutes per class.

In the most recent data collection, various information was also collected from the municipality, including details about the school's operations (e.g., teacher-student ratios and staff turnover) and information related to each child (e.g., grades and school attendance). The data collection procedure has been reviewed and ethically approved according to applicable laws and procedures. For more information and decisions, refer to the following references:

  • Data Collection 1-3: Dnr 2009/429
  • Data Collection 4: Dnr 2015/024
  • Data Collection 5: Dnr 2017/486
  • Data Collection 6: Dnr 2021-00631

The figure below illustrates who answered questions in each data collection.