“I Just want to be Happy”: An Exploration of the Aspirations, Values, and Psychological Wellbeing of Australian Young People

Ashley Humphrey, Helen Forbes-Mewett, Ana Maria Bliuc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Western cultural environments present an increasingly challenging landscape for young people’s mental health. To better understand how this cultural environment may be influencing the lives of young people, we conducted 50 semi-structured interviews with young Australians, discussing participants’ values, life goals, social attitudes and behaviours, and life stressors. We find that while participants tended to see factors such as maintaining strong relationships and personal growth as important to them, their ambitions, attitudes, and social behaviours were often driven by self-centred and materialistic aims. Participants also perceived outcomes specific to these drivers, including poor social support, feelings of competitiveness, and uncertainties around their future, as significant contributors to the stress they experienced in their lives. These findings help us better understand how prevailing Western cultural norms, including individualistic and materialistic practices, may influence young people’s psychological wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmerging Adulthood
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Individualism
  • Materialism
  • Psychological wellbeing
  • Stress

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