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Gender-sensitive and youth-friendly physiotherapy: Steps toward a stress management intervention for girls and young women
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry. (Stress and Health in Youth (Umeå SHY))
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy. (Stress and Health in Youth (Umeå SHY))
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy. (Stress and Health in Youth (Umeå SHY))
2016 (English)In: Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, ISSN 0959-3985, E-ISSN 1532-5040, Vol. 32, no 1, 20-33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article describes and evaluates initial steps of a gender-sensitive, youth-friendly group intervention model designed for teenage girls and young women who experience stress-related or psychosomatic problems. Fifty-four young women (16–25 years of age) participated in a gendersensitive physiotherapy stress management course at a youth health center. Inclusion criteria were self-defined stress-related problems and a wish to participate in the group intervention. Measurements of aspects of body perception, self-image, multiple somatic problems, and mental health symptom areas were assessed both before and after intervention with the Body Perception Questionnaire ad modum Schiöler, social analysis of social behavior, and Adult Self-Report scale. Significant positive changes were found in aspects of body perception, self-image, and mental health and somatic symptoms. The changes were most significant in lower internalization of anxiety and depression symptoms. Symptoms such as headaches and sleeping problems decreased. Participants were more satisfied with their bodies and more able to listen to body signals. Among cognitive issues, significant change occurred in thought problems, but not in attention problems. The intervention model needs further evaluation in controlled trials, but is promising and should be developed further in other physiotherapy settings and subgroups of young people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 32, no 1, 20-33 p.
Keyword [en]
Anxiety, body awareness therapy, body image, gender, mental health, physiotherapy, psychosomatics, self-image, stress, stress management, youth
Keyword [sv]
stress, genus, psykisk hälsa, kroppsbild, självbild, ångest, kroppskännedom, basal kroppskännedom, avspänning, fysioterapi, ungdomsmottagning, ungdomar, unga vuxna, unga kvinnor, flickor
National Category
Physiotherapy Psychiatry Gender Studies
Research subject
genusvetenskap; Psychiatry; Physiotherapy; Public health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-88766DOI: 10.3109/09593985.2015.1075639ISI: 000369278600003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-88766DiVA: diva2:717263
Projects
Umeå SHY
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 344-2011-5478
Note

Originally published in manuscript form with title "Gender-sensitive and youth-friendly physiotherapy: initial steps towards a stress management intervention for girls and young women".

Available from: 2014-05-14 Created: 2014-05-14 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Skapa rum. Ung femininitet, kroppslighet och psykisk ohälsa: genusmedveten hälsofrämjande intervention.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Skapa rum. Ung femininitet, kroppslighet och psykisk ohälsa: genusmedveten hälsofrämjande intervention.
2014 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Create space. Young femininity, body and mental health : a gender sensitive and health promoting intervention.
Abstract [en]

Mental health problems among young people, girls and young women in particular, are a serious public health problem. Gendered patterns of mental illness are seen in conjunction with stress-related problems such as anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic complaints. Intervention models tailored to the health care situation are therefore in need of development and evaluation. The overall aim of this thesis is to develop knowledge and understanding for young women’s mental health, stress-related, and bodily problems from a psychosomatic and gender theory perspective, and to evaluate a gender sensitive physiotherapeutic intervention model consisting of a stress management course for young women with stress-related problems.

The thesis consists of four studies. The overall research design combines qualitative and quantitative methods in which questionnaires and interviews were used to explore participant experiences and symptoms linked to perceived stress before and after the intervention. Data consisted of a cumulative sample of 65 young women, 16 to 25 years of age, who attended the youth-friendly health center because of stress-related problems. In paper I, multiple symptom areas of mental health and somatic problems, self-image and aspects of body perception were measured before the course. Participants were 47 of the young women. The results were compared with published normative and clinical reference groups. In paper II, the young women’s experiences of living stressful femininity were analysed with a qualitative content analysis using gender theoretical and phenomenological perspectives as an interpretative frame. The study was based on interviews with 25 of the women. In paper III, follow-up interviews were done with 32 of the women after completion of the course. Data was using qualitative content analysis to illuminate experiences of participating in the course. In paper IV, the course was evaluated by measuring changes in multiple symptom areas using the Adult Self Report (ASR), Social Analysis of Social Behaviour (SASB), and Body Perception Questionnaire (BPQ). Participants were 54 of the women who completed measurements finishing the course.

Young women present complex symptomatology of stress-related problems. The total burden of symptoms plus the narrated experiences highlight how renegotiations of gender constructions and handling of normative and stressful femininity constrain access to bodily resources. After the stress management course, their measured and narrated experiences show positive changes and release of mental health and stress problems, including a more positive self-image and sense of enhanced confidence in their bodies. Experiences of the course as a safe and explorative space for gendered collective understanding and embodied empowerment indicate the need to develop gender-sensitive interventions. The thesis contributes to youth and gender theoretical perspectives with integration of psychosomatic and psychiatric physiotherapy. A broader awareness of how gender constructions and sociocultural aspects are significant in the understanding of psychosomatic expressions of mental ill health and young femininity is valuable in development of theory and interventions in physiotherapy, as well as into other fields. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2014. 70 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1655
Keyword
mental health, stress-related health, young women, femininity, physiotherapy, psychosomatics, psychiatry, gender theory, phenomenology, corporeality, embodiment, empowerment, intervention
National Category
Physiotherapy Psychiatry Gender Studies
Research subject
Physiotherapy; Psychiatry; genusvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-88767 (URN)978-91-7601-081-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-13, Aulan, Vårdvetarhuset, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-05-22 Created: 2014-05-14 Last updated: 2014-06-03Bibliographically approved

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Strömbäck, MariaWiklund, MariaSalander Renberg, EllinorMalmgren-Olsson, Eva-Britt
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