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Experiences from a Gender-Sensitive Stress Management Intervention by Youth-Friendly Swedish Health Services: a Qualitative Study

2013

Experiences from a Gender-Sensitive Stress Management Intervention by Youth-Friendly Swedish Health Services: a Qualitative Study

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This qualitative study aims to illuminate young women’s experiences of participating in a body-based, gender-sensitive stress management group intervention by youth-friendly health services in northern Sweden.  The overall results of our interview analysis suggest that the stress management course we evaluated facilitated ‘a space for gendered and embodied empowerment in a hectic life’, implying that it both contributed to a sense of individual growth and allowed participants to unburden themselves of stress problems within a trustful and supportive context. Participants’ narrated experiences of ‘finding a social oasis to challenge gendered expectations’, ‘being bodily empowered’, and ‘altering gendered positions and stance to life’ point to empowering processes of change that allowed them to cope with distress, despite sometimes continuously stressful life situations. This intervention also decreased stress-related symptoms such as anxiousness, restlessness, muscle tension, aches and pains, fatigue, and impaired sleep. The participants’ experiences of the intervention as a safe and exploratory space for gendered collective understanding and embodied empowerment further indicates the need to develop gender-sensitive interventions to reduce individualisation of health problems and instead encourage spaces for collective support, action, and change.

Strömbäck., Malmgren-Olsson E.-B., Wiklund M.  (2013). Girls need to strengthen each other as a group: experiences from a gender-sensitive stress management intervention by youth-friendly Swedish health services: a qualitative study. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 907.

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