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Stress, health complaints and self-confidence: a comparison between young adult women in Sweden and USA.

Journal article
Authors Cathrine Hildingh
Russell V Luepker
Amir Baigi
Evy Lidell
Published in Scandinavian journal of caring sciences
Volume 20
Issue 2
Pages 202-8
ISSN 0283-9318
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 202-8
Language en
Keywords transition, adulthood, women, stress, health, self confidence
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


Transition to adulthood is a period in life when women encounter conflicts, ambiguities and rapidly expanding roles that may be stressful and difficult to manage. The aim of this study was to compare stress in daily life, health complaints and self-confidence in 26-year old women in two different cultures. A health survey study was performed among Swedish women (n = 386) and American women (n = 201) living in urban areas at the West coast of Sweden and in Minnesota. Both Swedish and American women reported stress in their everyday life, with higher figures for the Americans. Overall health was rated lower by the Swedish women and they reported more health complaints such as headache, general tiredness, irritability, depression and sleeping disorders. There was a difference between groups in self-confidence with higher figures for excellent self-confidence among American women. However, low self-confidence was reported by more American than Swedish women. A good work situation predicted self-confidence in Swedish women and financial confidence in American women. Physical fitness was associated with self-confidence in both groups. Young women in both cultures experienced high level of stress but health related complaints were more common among Swedish women. High stress and health complaints must be taken seriously and interventions to support young women in the midst of transition to adulthood should contain stress reduction as well as empowerment performed in a more effective way than today in different health care settings and at place of work.

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