To be content with one's present situation: young women's perceptions of everyday life

Carina Elgán, Bengt Fridlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to describe young women’s perceptions of lifestyle and how it was experienced in their daily lives. Traditionally, the outlook on illness and health is pathogenic, i.e. preventing illness and disease in order to achieve health, by focusing lifestyle behaviors such as physical activity and smoking. Lifestyle based on a salutary perspective cannot be measured or observed from the outside but must be described by the individual since lifestyle is an aspect of one’s life situation. Little is known about how lifestyle is perceived and what it means in ordinary people’s lives. Data were collected through interviews with 25 women selected by strategic sampling and analyzed using a phenomenographic approach. Three structural aspects emerged: enjoying life, living life, and balancing everyday life. Women described how they used lifestyle as a tool for achieving a sense of satisfaction, relaxation and happiness in everyday life. Lifestyle was also perceived as a never-ending balancing act between different personal needs and the expectations of others and society. It involved how the women used their time or lack of time as effectively as possible in order to organize their day. Lifestyle seems to be a tool in which intrinsic behaviors may be central to enhance quality of life and health. Intrinsic behaviors should be encouraged in salutary health promotion work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-18
Number of pages4
JournalVård i Norden
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Nursing (30305)


  • lifestyle
  • qualitative research
  • salutary
  • young women


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