2022 PHD Seminar Program

24 janvier 2022

28 janvier 2022

09:30AM – 11:20AM

Online Edition


(09:30AM – 11:20AM)

Teams Link



Theories of social practices, mobility, and energy consumption of Belgian households

09:40 – 10:10

The thesis is the sociological part of the BEST energy project. The main goal of this part is to understand what are the factors that influence the energy consumption of households. We will focus on the mobility sector because it is one of the main components of the demand that are considered in the Energy Scope model. The relevance of choosing to study mobility practices lies also in the fact that it is one of the most pollutant sectors. The idea is to understand the factors leading to important energy consumption that are important energy consumption that is not intentional. Indeed, a lot of theoretical frameworks and public policies want to change individuals’ intentions and raise awareness climate change. But, in Belgium, most people are aware and worried about climate change. A lot of people also want to do something against this phenomenon but do not know how to act or feel like what they’ll do would be useless. What is needed is therefore to give people the tools, the social context, the infrastructures, and so on so they can adopt more pro-environmental practices. My objective is therefore to find the factors influencing mobility practice, to develop more efficient tools to change human behavior.



(research conducted with C. Faes, C. Bouland, E. De Clercq, B. Vandeninden, T. Eggerickx, JP. Sanderson, B. Devleesschauwer, B. Masquelier)

Inequalities in mortality associated with housing conditions in Belgium between 1991 and 2020

10:15 – 10:45

As poor housing conditions have been associated with increased mortality, we investigate association between housing inequality and increased mortality. We utilized individuallevel mortality data extracted from the National Register in Belgium and relative to deaths that occurred between Jan 1, 1991 and Dec 31, 2020. Spatial and time-specific housing deprivation indices (1991, 2001, and 2011) were created at the level of the smallest geographical unit in Belgium, assigning these units into deciles from the most to least deprived. We calculated mortality attributable to housing inequality as the difference between the observed and expected deaths by applying mortality of the least deprived decile to other deciles. We also used standard life table calculations to estimate the potential years of life lost due housing inequality. Our results indicated that 18.5% (95% CI 17.7-19.3) of all deaths between 1991 and 2020 were attributable to housing inequality, corresponding to 584,875 deaths. Over time, life expectancy at birth increased for the most and least deprived deciles by about 3.5 years. The gap in life expectancy between the two deciles remained high, on average 4.6 years. Life expectancy in Belgium is reduced by approximately 3 years lost due to housing inequality. Our study shows that thousands of deaths in Belgium could be avoided if housing inequality was reduced. Hotspots of housing inequalities need to be localized and targeted with tailored publicactions.


Natacha ZIMMER

Professional careers of refugees and asylum seekers in Belgium: determinants of the stability of socio-economic trajectories

11:50 – 11:20

Through sequence analyses, this presentation studies the socio-economic trajectories of asylum seekers and refugees who arrived in Belgium between 2004 and 2007. Based on data from administrative registers, a first typology shows the existence of 6 distinct trajectory-types. The analysis indicates that the employment trajectories are unstable, due to fragmented and short periods of work. This observation then leads to an analysis of the elements that may or may not stimulate the construction of a continuous employment career. A second typology therefore deepens the concept of ethnostratification by associating it with a factor of stabilization of professional careers within specific sectors of activity. The hotel/catering/retail, construction/industry and health/social sectors are thus designated as generating ethnic stratification but also continuity in the careers that take place within the same activity sector.




(09:30AM – 11:20 AM)

Teams Link


Joan Damiens

(research conducted with C. Schnor and D. Willaert)

Moving out and moving on: the impact of mobility and union dissolutions on mental health in Belgium

09:40 – 10:10

There is already a large contribution of the literature on how union dissolutions increase the risk of depression, but little is known about the underlying process of this relation and the impact of the residential changes on mental health, a fortiori in a context of union dissolution. This research investigates how depression risk varies during the period of separation and according to whether the individual moves or not at the moment and/or in the year following the separation. The dataset gathers information on 20 to 64-year-old individuals affiliated with the Belgian Socialist health insurance, the largest health assurance company in French-speaking Belgium, who lived in opposite-sex partnerships in 2008 and separate between 2009 to 2018. We measure depression risk with antidepressants consumption (more than 90 defined daily doses per year), and conducted random-effect logit models. Controlling for observed and unobserved individuals’ characteristics, we found that compared to 2 years and more before the separation, the depression risk increased in the year prior to separation and peaked in the year of the union dissolution. The year following separation depression level decreased but remained high the year following a separation. The risk of depression during the separation period was higher for women who moved during their separation year. After controlling for selectivity of individuals who move, this result only persisted for women who cumulate moves in the year of separation and the first year thereafter. This research demonstrates the anticipatory effect of separation on mental health as well as its short-term consequences. It reminds the material vulnerability of women during and after separation, by showing that women who experience residential instability during and following their separation face a high depression risk.


Benjamin-Samuel SCHLÜTER

An assessment of the disparity in cause-specific mortality at the subnational level with standardized mortality ratios

10:15 – 10:45

This research aims to assess the between-districts disparity in cause-specific premature mortality in Belgium. We build on previous work by Renard et al. (2015) who used a direct standardization method to obtain age-adjusted rates stratified by sex for all-cause and cause-specific mortality. We propose to use an alternative indicator, the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) computed for cause-specific mortality. This has several advantages over the direct standardization used by Renard et al.. This metric reduces the noise in the data by requiring total deaths by cause instead of age-and cause-specific mortality rates at the district level. This permit to work with finer time periods and hence, allow to obtain time trends. A further advantage is that the SMR can be smoothed using a space-time Bayesian model frequently used in epidemiology. In addition to smoothing, this model allows to decompose the variation in the data, allowing to assess the amount of spatial and temporal variation in the total subnational variation for each cause of death. Finally, the SMR is by construction a relative measure and thus, is well fitted for subnational comparison. Note that the Bayesian estimation framework is also of interest as it allows to derive uncertainty measures around derived quantities such as dispersion measures of SMR over time.



Trends in educational profiles of male lone parents. Evidence from Belgium (1990-2020)

10:50 – 11:20

This study investigates the socio-demographic changes in lone fatherhood in Belgium, using register-based and census data over 30 years (1990-2020). Nowadays, a growing number of children live in lone parent families. Research has focused mainly on lone mothers showing they accumulate among the lower social strata. Over the past decades, there has been a substantial increase in lone father families, but their position remains insufficiently investigated. Do also lone fathers constitute mainly from lower social strata or their profile has changed over the years? First, we provide descriptives of changes over time in lone father’s characteristics. Second, we use multinomial logistic regression analysis to investigate the association of educational level with lone fatherhood. Our results show that, in Belgium, low educated fathers are still more likely to be lone parents than middle and high educated, but the gap between the three educational groups has widened over the years.