Scientific journal

New Psychological Research

Guseltseva M.S. Book review. Ole Jacob Madsen. Life skills and adolescent mental health: Can kids be taught to master life? London: Routledge, 2023

Marina S. Guseltseva, Sc.D. (Psychology), Associate professor, Federal Scientific Center for Psychological and Interdisciplinary Research, Moscow, Russia; bld. 9–4, Mokhovaya str., Moscow, Russia, 125009; Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia; bld. 6, Miusskaya square, Moscow, Russia, 125047;

In his new book, Norwegian psychologist Ole Madsen discusses the rise of therapeutic culture and the psychologization of modern society. Among the key trends of our time, he highlights the transition from traditional social existence to high individualization of life. This means that more and more responsibility for psychological well-being, for the choices and decisions is placed on the person himself. In the field of education and socialization of growing children and adolescents, this entails a revision of the content of education and the introduction of new curricula. Scandinavian countries are introducing interdisciplinary education into health and life skills, including body and mental health, modern lifestyles, financial security and consumption. However, O. Madsen wonders whether introducing these special programs into the curriculum actually helps improve the mental health of adolescents and help young people cope with current problems such as school stress and overwhelming social expectations? The purpose of his book is to question common ideas around digital safety, youth mental health issues and life skills that are being introduced into schools everywhere. O. Madsen comes to the conclusion that the revision of the content of education is aimed at placing responsibility for one’s own physical and mental well-being on the individual, and not eliminating the growing political and social dysfunctions in modern society, for example, problems of inequality, unemployment, accessibility to quality education and medicine. According to O. Madsen, solving systemic institutional problems through individual life strategies is a common cognitive distortion, and the growth of therapeutic culture and total psychologization can make young people much more vulnerable and less resistant to life crises.


Key words: therapeutic culture, life skills, mental health, youth, adolescents, socialization in modern conditions, person


For citation: Guseltseva, M.S. (2023). Ole Jacob Madsen. Book review. Ole Jacob Madsen. Life skills and adolescent mental health: Can kids be taught to master life? London: Routledge, 2023. New PsychologicalResearch, No. 4, 140–157. DOI: 10.51217/npsyresearch_2023_03_04_09



The article was carried out within a State assignment, project FNRE-2021-0001.


Keywords: therapeutic culture life skills mental health youth adolescents socialization in modern conditions person

Received: 26th december 2023

Published: 26th december 2023

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