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Project manager: Viveca Östberg
Period: 2016-2019
Funding: Forte
Project members: Viveca Östberg (CHESS), Sara Brolin Låftman (CHESS), Petra Lindfors (Dep of psychology), Bitte Modin (CHESS), Ylva B Almquist (CHESS), Anders Hjern (CHESS)

Project description 

The reporting of stress and stress-related health complaints is high in adolescents, and a gender difference to the disadvantage of girls is a typical finding in large-scale studies. The overall purpose of this research project is to increase the understanding of experiences of stress and stress-related health complaints in adolescent girls and boys. In the first part, we use large-scale data (representative of Sweden and Stockholm) and aim for an increased understanding by placing girls and boys within the complexity of the social structure, i.e. simultaneously taking other stratifying dimensions into account, namely parental education, social class, family income, country of birth and family structure. Here, the aim is to analyse girls and boys within these societal groupings to evaluate the persistence and size of the gender gap in stress. The aim is also to acknowledge the heterogeneity among girls and boys, and to analyse and compare the variation in stress tied to stratifying dimensions in girls and boys respectively. In addition, girls and boys will be placed within social contexts differing in degree of equality in gender roles per se, i.e. between parents.

In the second part, more detailed analyses will be conducted using a data material collected through multiple methods in two Stockholm schools. We will analyse potential stressors and coping resources suggested in earlier research and examine their associations with more elaborate stress measures, namely the perceived stress scale (with sub-scales of activation and pressure) and biomarkers of stress (the hormone cortisol and the enzyme alpha-amylase), as well as stress-related health complaints, in girls and boys. The potential stressors and coping resources focussed on cover the school as a work environment (e.g. level of demands, decision authority, teacher support), the school as a social arena (e.g. friendships, peer status, bullying), as well as the family situation (e.g. relations with parents).