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The Limits of Wellbeing

Abstract

This chapter addresses the complex interrelationship between wellbeing as a personal responsibility and individual experience and the reality that the parameters of wellbeing across populations are social, political and economic. It focuses on the issue of mental health, which is recognized as one of the most significant challenges to young people’s health in developed countries. The nexus between social determinants of wellbeing and individual experience of being well is at the heart of the project of rethinking youth wellbeing. Drawing on longitudinal data from the Life Patterns research program about generation X and Y Australians, this chapter explores the relationship between contemporary social conditions – such as the increased time spent in formal education; the rise of precarious work; the fragmentation of time with significant others; and the tendency to combine study and work – and the deterioration of mental health rates. Data from the Life Patterns program suggests that young people experience wellbeing as yet another dimension of life in which they must perform to normative standards, and for which they are responsible. Rethinking youth wellbeing to acknowledge the social processes that shape emotional and social health leads to the conclusion that governments, institutions and workplaces bear responsibility for the mental health of young people.

Keywords

  • Youth
  • Generations
  • Wellbeing
  • Mental health
  • Stress
  • Longitudinal study

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Fig. 4.1

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Correspondence to Johanna Wyn .

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Wyn, J., Cuervo, H., Landstedt, E. (2015). The Limits of Wellbeing. In: Wright, K., McLeod, J. (eds) Rethinking Youth Wellbeing. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-188-6_4

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