PSWG – The Population Study of Women in Gothenburg

Research project

Short description

PSWG is a prospective study of 1462 women which started in Gothenburg in 1968 with a population sample of the ages 38, 46, 50, 54 and 60. Follow-ups were conducted in 1974, -80, -92, 2000, -05, -09. The cohorts born in 1922 and 1930 are also included in the H70 study from 1992 and 2000 (cross-sectional study of 70-year-olds). A total of six follow-ups of physical and mental illnesses, health, social and psychological factors, dental and dietary data have been carried out. In parallel new 38- and 50-year-old women have been invited for generational comparisons (1980, -92, 2004, -16), with opportunity to study the development of blood pressure, blood fats, medication, lifestyle, working life, education, mental and general health. The breadth and duration of the study provide opportunities for highly topical research on women's health.

The purpose of the project

The purpose of PSWG is to study the development of lifestyle, weight status, cardiovascular disease, menopause, gynaecological and mental problems in women from middle age and upwards, as well as to monitor other health development, lifestyle and perception of stress.

Goals and research questions

The extended follow-up, the high participation rate, and the careful mapping of non-participants as well as disease and mortality data make it possible to shed light on which factors in middle-aged women are important for the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia and other mental illnesses in old age. The long follow-up times also make it possible to study the long-term prognosis for these diseases. We also have the opportunity to make generational comparisons of 38- and 50-year-old women in terms of medical conditions and the development of women's health in society.
Longitudinal population studies provide good conditions for data collection, as a basis for testing potential relationships between health and risk factors and women's health.
They also provide an opportunity to study the development of women's lifestyle factors over time.


The women's survey has been ongoing since 1968, when 1462 women between the ages of 38 and 60 participated - more than 90% of all who were invited to participate.
Follow-up surveys have since been carried out after the basic survey 1968-69, namely 1980-81, 1992-93, 2000-01, 2005-06, 2009-10, the later surveys in collaboration with the H70 study.
Women who on the various survey occasions were 38 or 50 years old, have participated on five occasions: 1968-69, 1980-81, 1992-93, 2004-05 and 2016-17.
In this way, we have been able to compare  characteristics of 38- and 50-year-old women on these five occasions, ie at 12-year intervals continuously.

The benefits of the project

The project examines both longitudinal trends (change over time in individuals) and secular trends (change of population over time). Such studies of longitudinal and secular trends are important for the knowledge of future healthcare needs and can shed light on factors of importance to disease and health. In relation to this, we have the opportunity to study, for example, whether the increased use of estrogen hormones and new antidepressant drugs in the population has affected the incidence of cardiovascular disease, dementia and depression and the proportion who have treatment. We can thus compare the same age group of women examined on different occasions, for example 50-year-old women 1968-69 and 1980-81, 1992-93, 2004-05 and 2016-17. Results from the examinations 2004-05 and 2016-17 show that 38- and 50-year-old women now have better cardiovascular risks (healthier blood pressure and blood lipids, increased physical activity, less smoking), but experience higher levels of stress compared to earlier-born cohorts. The new generations of 38- and 50-year-old women use hormonal methods of contraception to a greater extent than the previous generations - more than a quarter of 50-year-old women used hormones in 2016-17.