Social-emotional skills development in Malaysia young adults: an exploratory study

Hew En Yi, Adriana Ortega, Steven Eric Krauss

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Non-cognitive factors are essential for success in life (Rieger et al., 2017) and one important non-cognitive facet is social-emotional skills (SES). These skills foster learners’ performance (Corcoran et al., 2018) and facilitate social-emotional learning including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making (OECD, 2015). In line with the available research data on SES it can be argued that these are indirectly linked to later success in life (Heckman et al., 2006; Heckman & Kautz, 2012; OECD, 2015). Thus, the increased interest in fostering SES in middle, secondary and post-secondary education (Andrade, 2020; Weissberg et al., 2015; Ee, et al., 2014). Although Malaysia's current youth development policy aims at strengthening the leadership development process, citizenship, and well-being (Arshad & Hong, 2019), very little emphasis is placed on the development of SES at the post-secondary level. Nonetheless, it is during post-secondary education that young people start to transition into adulthood and undergo major developmental challenges. Objectives: The aimed at exploring (1) the factors contributing to the development of social-emotional skills of young adults, and (2) the roles that post-secondary education institutions could play in fostering the development of the social and emotional skills of young adults in Malaysia from the perspectives of youth work Methods: Data was collected through online in-depth interviews with a constructivist grounded theory approach (Chamaz, 2014). The participants in this study consisted of youth work practitioners with experience working in post-secondary institutions in Malaysia Results: The preliminary results suggest the following themes: the effectiveness of incorporating SES in the education system, the influence of family upbringing and environment on SES development, the role of post-secondary education institutions in fostering SES, the importance of early intervention, and the potential strategies to enhance SES development among young adults. Conclusion Fostering social-emotional skills development among young adults in Malaysian post-secondary education institutions is crucial for their overall well-being and success. The findings could contribute towards the enhancement of current youth policies; as well as inform the designing and implementation of relevant initiatives to foster SES development among young people completing their post-secondary education in Malaysia.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventInternational Conference on Youth 2023 - Sibu, Malaysia
Duration: 10 Oct 2023 → …
Conference number: 4th


ConferenceInternational Conference on Youth 2023
Abbreviated titleICYOUTH 2023
Period10/10/23 → …
Internet address


  • Social-emotional skills
  • young adult
  • post-secondary education institutions

Cite this