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Life Decisions and Youth: A Focus Group Study of Making and Reflecting on Major Decisions of Life


The present study aims to understand how the youth characterizes major life decisions (MLD), the process through which they take decisions, and the factors that might trigger the evaluation of their decisions. Six focus group discussions were conducted among university students and PhD scholars. The discussions with the participants revealed the role of realistic social environments by examining their views and lived experiences. The thematic analysis of the responses demonstrates that the MLD involves a step-wise decision-making process in which there is no single, optimal, or correct answer. The major life decision-making process of youths operates within the limits of bounded rationality. Information overload, limited time, physical tiredness represented limits on the decision-making process. Factors such as the emotional state, family background, social comparison, and past experiences emerged as important influences in the decision process. The changes in the life course, social comparison, dissatisfactions with the decisional outcomes, and the disposition of decision-maker were the prominent factors that led youths to evaluate or re-examine their decision process.

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Focus Group Discussions


Major Life Decision


Judgement and Decision Making






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The paper is financially supported by the Indian Council of Social Science Research, India (Grant No. 02/336/2016-17/ICSSR/RP).

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Correspondence to Kushal Rai.

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Maheshwari, S., Rai, K. Life Decisions and Youth: A Focus Group Study of Making and Reflecting on Major Decisions of Life. Psychol Stud (2021).

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  • Decision-making
  • MLD
  • Youth’s decisions
  • Focus group discussion
  • Decision evaluation