In the shadows of the "normal" - A Critical Psycological study of experienced challenges in the conduct of everyday life of young people diagnosed with a mental disorder

Simone Lærke Rieneck Albrechtsen, Malene Glerup Nielsen & Maria Roost Dinesen

Student thesis: Basic Project


In this project we aim to gain insight into the lives of young people diagnosed with a mental disorder and shed light on the particular challenges they experience in their conduct of everyday life. The theoretical framework of the study is represented by Critical Psychology based primarily on the theories of Klaus Holzkamp and Ole Dreier. Conduct of everyday life, trajectories of participation, possibility for action and the capacity to act are used as key concepts. Furthermore we seek to understand the young persons’ experienced challenges in the light of today’s society, thus we include David Harvey’s historical view on neoliberalism and Anders Petersen’s interpretation of today’s society type, which he describes as præstationssamfundet. Our empirical data consists of two qualitative semi-structured interviews with two young persons from a first-person perspective. Both interviewees are participants in Ungehuset and are both diagnosed with schizophrenia. The participants experience different challenges uniting different trajectories of participation in their conduct of everyday life. Education is an area, in which they both experience challenges because of their mental disorder and because of the emphasis on performance in today’s society. The young persons also experience challenges regarding stigmatization and expectations from their families. Despite the fact that they feel normalized in Ungehuset, the dichotomy between them and the “normal” young people in society is amplified. Our study illustrates and highlights the complexity of two young people’s situation and shows that the challenges they experience are very subjective and reflects not only their mental disorder but their living conditions and their interaction with society.

EducationsPsychology, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date19 Dec 2017
Number of pages68
SupervisorsSofie Pedersen


  • Conduct of everyday life
  • Young people
  • Mental disorder
  • Neoliberalism