Photo of Gunilla Liedberg

Gunilla Liedberg

Living with chronic pain affects an individual’s entire life situation, including employment. The focus of my research is to deepen our knowledge of the factors that determine whether women with chronic pain can remain in the labour market or not.

Consequences of disabilities for daily life 

My research is characterized by clients’ own experiences of living with various long term/chronic diseases

Fibromyalgia and instrument development

The main focus of my research has been studies of women with fibromyalgia. My principal interest has been their working situation, and what the situation is for recently diagnosed women. 
Additionally, work on developing instruments is going on in the field – instruments that assess the impact of symptoms on daily life as well as an instrument to measure quality of life. Instrument development will also be the subject of further research, from a cultural perspective.

Research projects

Another long term disease is coeliac disease, and in this area I have now, in collaboration with other researchers, sent out a questionnaire to a large number of people in Östergötland county. This will contribute to increasing knowledge about what it is like to live with coeliac disease.

A third-cycle project concerned with girls and women with Rett syndrome is investigating the daily-life activity patterns of people with multiple functional disabilities. 

Another project, of which I am the assistant supervisor, is studying different dimensions of pain – not just the physical one – and the development of self-care measures in clients with head and neck cancer, and their families. 

Teaching on the Occupational Therapy programme

I lecture future occupational therapists on gender theory and diary methodology. Further consequences in living with chronic pain and on the occupational therapist’s work tasks for clients with chronic pain. 

Supervision of doctoral students

I am the main supervisor of Åsa Sernheim, a doctoral student on the research project “Activity and severe multiple disabilities – Rett syndrome ”. 

I am assistant supervisor of two research projects:

  • ”Pain related to head and neck cancer: identifications, implementation and evaluation of self care measures due to the illness”, doctoral student Anne Schaller, the Department of Medical and Health Sciences (IMH).
  • “Instrument development for cultural competence”, doctoral student Jane Holstein, the Department of Social and Welfare Studies (ISV).



Christina Turesson, Gunilla Liedberg, Mathilda Björk (2023) Evaluating the Clinical Use and Utility of a Digital Support App for Employees With Chronic Pain Returning to Work (SWEPPE): Observational Study JMIR Human Factors, Vol. 10, Article e52088 Continue to DOI


Christina Turesson, Gunilla Liedberg, Linda Vixner, Monika Lofgren, Mathilda Björk (2022) Evidence-based digital support during 1 year after an Interdisciplinary Pain Rehabilitation Programme for persons with chronic musculoskeletal pain to facilitate a sustainable return to work: a study protocol for a registry-based multicentre randomised controlled trial BMJ Open, Vol. 12, Article e060452 Continue to DOI
Christina Turesson, Gunilla Liedberg, Mathilda Björk (2022) Development of a Digital Support Application With Evidence-Based Content for Sustainable Return to Work for Persons With Chronic Pain and Their Employers: User-Centered Agile Design Approach JMIR Human Factors, Vol. 9, Article e33571 Continue to DOI
Frida Svanholm, Gunilla Liedberg, Monika Löfgren, Mathilda Björk (2022) Stakeholders experience of collaboration in the context of interdisciplinary rehabilitation for patients with chronic pain aiming at return to work Disability and Rehabilitation, Vol. 44, p. 8388-8399 Continue to DOI
Frida Svanholm, Gunilla Liedberg, Monika Lofgren, Mathilda Björk (2022) Factors of importance for return to work, experienced by patients with chronic pain that have completed a multimodal rehabilitation program - a focus group study Disability and Rehabilitation, Vol. 44, p. 736-744 Continue to DOI

Research projects

Principal, further appointments and academic qualifications

Principal for postgraduate studies 

I am the principal of studies for doctoral students from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Department of Social and Welfare Studies (ISV).



Further appointments

I regularly organise a research conference on occupational therapy, “Mötesplats i Östergötland”, together with PhD occupational therapists within Region Östergötland.


Academic qualifications

  • Registered occupational therapist 1975
  • University Diploma in Teacher Education 1993
  • Bachelor’s Degree 1998
  • Master’s Degree 2000
  • Doctor of Medical Science 2004
  • Associate professor 2013


Selected publications

Cover of publication ''
Gunilla Liedberg, Mathilda Björk (2014)

Work: A journal of Prevention, Assessment and rehabilitation , Vol.48 , s.155-164 Continue to DOI

Collaboration with researchers in Occupational therapy