• adolescent girls;
  • grounded theory;
  • public health;
  • stress;
  • interview


The aim of this study was to generate a theoretical model of underlying social processes that trigger stress in adolescent girls' everyday life. In-depth interviews regarding the experiences of stress at home, school and during leisure time were conducted with 14 17-year-old schoolgirls. Data were analysed by means of the grounded theory method. Stress was triggered in the interaction between responsibility and the way in which the girls were encountered. Triggered emotional reactions took the form of four dimensions of stress included ambivalence, frustration, despair and downheartedness. These reactions were dependent on whether the girls voluntary assumed responsibility for various situations or whether they were forced, or felt they were being forced, to assume responsibility in interaction with an encounter characterized by closeness or distance. These forms of stress reactions could appear in one dimension and subsequently shift to another. From the public health perspective, the generated stress model can be used in the planning and implementation of future actions to prevent stress and promote well-being related to stress in adolescent girls. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.