Life skills have been shown to help young people cope with challenges and facilitate their transition into adulthood. Few studies have explored life skills programs from the lived experiences of youth themselves. Using a retrospective narrative analysis approach, this study uses social construction and social learning theories to investigate how young people construct their experiences of life skills education in the context of their embedded social environments, including their relationships with family, school, and peers. The study incorporates a series of in-depth, face-to-face, and social media-based interviews with two young adults from the Maldives who had very different experiences in life skills programs. Capturing the participants’ subjective experiences of life skills over time, and in the context of their transition to adulthood, allowed us to make situated connections between program experiences and the participants’ everyday lives. The findings point to the importance of program duration and directly link program content to adolescents’ real-world experiences including critical life incidents, the need to provide more structure in the delivery of programs, and the importance of ensuring that program experiences align with relevant skills and competencies. Potential implications for life skills education programs are outlined.


life skills education, adolescence, narrative analysis, experiential learning, Maldives

Author Bio(s)

Aishath Nasheeda is a Senior Lecturer in psychology at Villa College in the Maldives. Dr. Nasheeda's scholarship centers around the life skills development of adolescents and youth. She is particularly interested in how feelings, cognition, beliefs, and behaviour are constructed within social settings.

Steven Krauss is a Professor with the Dept. of Professional Development and Continuing Education, Faculty of Educational Studies, and Deputy Director of the Institute for Social Science Studies (IPSAS), Universiti Putra Malaysia. Dr. Krauss’ scholarship reflects his commitment to the healthy development of all young people by building supportive ecologies for young people to thrive in schools, families, and communities. Please direct correspondence to lateef@upm.edu.my.

Haslinda Abdullah is Director of the Institute for Social Science Studies, and a Professor in the Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her research interests include social psychology and psychology of work among youth.

Nobaya Ahmad is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her research interests include urban planning and social psychology.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.







To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.