Stress & bad health connected to Swedish family policies

Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdottir has studied the high stress-level among Swedish and Nordic parents (abstract) :

The mother is regarded as the child’s primary caregiver among the vast majority of families in spite of living in societies with gender-equal family policies. The results indicate that time pressure is embedded in everyday life of mainly highly-educated mothers and those experiencing financial stress and/or lack of social support. No conclusion could be made about time pressure from the ”normbreaking” fathers participating in the study, but associations were found to financial stress and lack of support.

The study hints rather clearly at the Swedish ”family policies” which condemns parents to ”misery” (see prof. Bo Södersten, here) if they try to support a family on only one income and do not adapt to the heavy political-economical pressure to leave their children to heavily subsidized public care and up-bringing in order to get the needed second income. Parents that adapt to the political-economical pressure will manage financially but will be victims of the stress and frequent health problems mentioned in the study.

A resume of the study (in Swedish) can be found here.


Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdottir is a non-Swedish researcher, not depending so heavily on public (political) financial support. Many Swedes – researchers and others – can verify the result of the study, but would not dare to connect the stress and bad health to Swedish family polilcies like Gunnarsdottir does. That is, if they would want to be published and continue getting public grants or work in the gigantic public sector in Sweden.

Krister Pettersson


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