Different Types of Well-Being? A Cross-Cultural Examination of Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-Being

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Abstract

A large international sample was used to test whether hedonia (the experience of positive emotional states and satisfaction of desires) and eudaimonia (the presence of meaning and development of one’s potentials) represent 1 overarching well-being construct or 2 related dimensions. A latent correlation of .96 presents negligible evidence for the discriminant validity between Diener’s (1984) subjective well-being model of hedonia and Ryff’s (1989) psychological well-being model of eudaimonia. When compared with known correlates of well-being (e.g., curiosity, gratitude), eudaimonia and hedonia showed very similar relationships, save goal-directed will and ways (i.e., hope), a meaning orientation to happiness, and grit. Identical analyses in subsamples of 7 geographical world regions revealed similar results around the globe. A single overarching construct more accurately reflects hedonia and eudaimonia when measured as self-reported subjective and psychological well-being. Nevertheless, measures of eudaimonia may contain aspects of meaningful goal-directedness unique from hedonia.

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