Structuring their daily life is an important problem for many individuals with chronic mental disorder. Therefore day structuring services are considered as constituent parts of modern mental healthcare systems. In this paper the theoretical and empirical basis for the implementation and evaluation of day structuring services will be discussed from a social science perspective. Recent work in the field of cultural sociology shows that the social framework of everyday behaviour in modern societies provides a great variety of opportunities to create and practice individual lifestyles. The potential to take advantage of these opportunities is related to individual competencies and resources. The few existing qualitative studies on the everyday behaviour of individuals with chronic mental disorders in the community reveal that increased freedom of choice is often combined with an objective or subjective lack of resources and competencies to make use of this variety of opportunities. Therefore, beyond providing a structure for daily life, day structuring services should help empower individuals with chronic mental disorder to make their choices among behavioural alternatives bearing in mind both illness-related limitations and their strengths and resources.