The greatest sources of stress among young Swedish women are their weight and their looks. "Young people are supposed to deal with rankings of all kinds. We’ve created a narrow template in society for how we’re supposed to be," says Lena Hök, head of corporate responsibility at Skandia, the insurance company that commissioned a report from Ungdomsbarometern about what worries young Swedes.
Three out of four young Swedes (ages 15 to 24) are satisfied with their lives. But one in 10 feels unsafe. Thirteen percent view their existence as meaningless, according to the report. Not surprisingly, those who feel worried and resigned are those who are unemployed. Among them, 29 percent view life as meaningless, compared to 7 percent of those who study at college and university. “The problem with alienation and mental illness doesn’t grow overnight, but society is bad at catching on in time,” Hök continues. In general, what worries most youths is not lack of work or a place to live, but rather their own expectations and their looks. Forty-three percent of the girls feel stress over their bodies and their weight, as compared to 25 percent of the boys. “Somewhere we’ve sent the wrong signals,” says Hök. “It’s become an habitual thing to have to constantly compete and be ranked. An increasing number of ranking, especially online, has created a harsher society, Hök says.