Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

Swedish Funding for Clinical Research in Behavior Analysis

By JoAnne Dahl Olerud, Ph.D.


Getting funded for doing clinical research in Sweden is not complicated, especially if you choose an application that is of national interest, which is most commonly how to save the taxpayers money. I have been involved in designing and implementing applications of behavioral analysis in a number of medical areas that cost Swedish taxpayers, the government and insurance companies significant portions of their budgets. Costs for sick leave, work absenteeism, and health care consumption have skyrocketed There is great interest in developing models for getting people back to work. In Sweden, insurance companies are presently making major funding available to researchers who are willing to develop and evaluate programs to reduce these costs.


The Swedish government research institute has deemed multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs based on a behavioral analysis of pain behavior to be the most effective means of helping persons get back to work. These programs are, however, costly. Insurance companies, especially, are looking for treatment models that can be used both preventively and as interventions for helping persons who have gotten stuck in different symptoms.


The last few years we have been developing preventive and treatment models based on the "third wave" behavioral programs, which offer a simpler, more cost effective intervention. There has been great interest from occupational health centers, insurance companies and rehabilitation centers in implementing these cost effective models. Even though Sweden may be extreme compared to other countries, with its unlimited health care and sick leave, the models developed in helping people get back to work would probably be applicable in many places. We are also developing integrative health models as an alternative to the medical models in countries like Africa, Serbia, and India, which do not have access to the quick fix drugs of western health care. Within the European community, we could collaborate on these efforts and there is EU funding available. There are also ethical reasons for cooperation with developing countries to find alternatives to the commercialized medical model of health care. We have much to learn from each other.




Modifed by Eddie Soh