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Family Matters No. 50 - June 1998

Rising Psychosocial Problems Among Young People

Historical myth or contemporary reality?
Richard Eckersley

Abstract

Concerns for young people in today's world are well based. If their social and emotional well being are to be improved, then it is necessary to face up to the problem, and not deny that it exists. The author refers to an article by Judith Bessant and Rob Watts, 'History, Myth Making and Young People in a Time of Change' in the previous issue of Family Matters (no.40, Autumn 1998: 5-10). The author criticises their stand that viewing young people as 'victims of change' or 'sources of misrule' is a recurring historical myth unsupported by empirical evidence. Further he disputes their inference that there is no problem, or if there is a problem, it resides within the individual, and social, economic and cultural circumstances play little if any part.

Concerns for young people in today's world are well based. If their social and emotional well being are to be improved, then it is necessary to face up to the problem, and not deny that it exists. The author refers to an article by Judith Bessant and Rob Watts, 'History, Myth Making and Young People in a Time of Change' in the previous issue of Family Matters (no.40, Autumn 1998: 5-10). The author criticises their stand that viewing young people as 'victims of change' or 'sources of misrule' is a recurring historical myth unsupported by empirical evidence. Further he disputes their inference that there is no problem, or if there is a problem, it resides within the individual, and social, economic and cultural circumstances play little if any part.

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