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The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being: Psychometric properties, demographic comparisons, and evidence of validity

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Abstract

The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being (QEWB) was developed to measure well-being in a manner consistent with how it is conceptualized in eudaimonist philosophy. Aspects of eudaimonic well-being assessed by the QEWB include self-discovery, perceived development of one's best potentials, a sense of purpose and meaning in life, intense involvement in activities, investment of significant effort, and enjoyment of activities as personally expressive. The QEWB was administered to two large, ethnically diverse samples of college students drawn from multiple sites across the United States. A three-part evaluation of the instrument was conducted: (1) evaluating psychometric properties, (2) comparing QEWB scores across gender, age, ethnicity, family income, and family structure, and (3) assessing the convergent, discriminant, construct, and incremental validity of the QEWB. Six hypotheses relating QEWB scores to identity formation, personality traits, and positive and negative psychological functioning were evaluated. The internal consistency of the scale was high and results of independent CFAs indicated that the QEWB items patterned onto a common factor. The distribution of scores approximated a normal curve. Demographic variables were found to predict only small proportions of QEWB score variability. Support for the hypotheses tested provides evidence for the validity of the QEWB as an instrument for assessing eudaimonic well-being. Implications for theory and future research directions are discussed.
The Journal of Positive Psychology
Vol. 5, No. 1, January 2010, 41–61
The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being: Psychometric properties, demographic
comparisons, and evidence of validity
Alan S. Waterman
a
*, Seth J. Schwartz
b
, Byron L. Zamboanga
c
, Russell D. Ravert
d
,
Michelle K. Williams
e
, V. Bede Agocha
e
, Su Yeong Kim
f
and M. Brent Donnellan
g
a
Department of Psychology, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, USA;
b
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
Center for Family Studies, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, USA;
c
Department of Psychology,
Clark Science Center, Smith College, Northampton, USA;
d
Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri,
Columbia, USA;
e
Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, USA;
f
Department of Human
Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas—Austin, USA;
g
Department of Psychology,
Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA
The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being (QEWB) was developed to measure well-being in a manner
consistent with how it is conceptualized in eudaimonist philosophy. Aspects of eudaimonic well-being assessed by
the QEWB include self-discovery, perceived development of one’s best potentials, a sense of purpose and meaning
in life, intense involvement in activities, investment of significant effort, and enjoyment of activities as personally
expressive. The QEWB was administered to two large, ethnically diverse samples of college students drawn from
multiple sites across the United States. A three-part evaluation of the instrument was conducted: (1) evaluating
psychometric properties, (2) comparing QEWB scores across gender, age, ethnicity, family income, and family
structure, and (3) assessing the convergent, discriminant, construct, and incremental validity of the QEWB.
Six hypotheses relating QEWB scores to identity formation, personality traits, and positive and negative
psychological functioning were evaluated. The internal consistency of the scale was high and results of
independent CFAs indicated that the QEWB items patterned onto a common factor. The distribution of scores
approximated a normal curve. Demographic variables were found to predict only small proportions of QEWB
score variability. Support for the hypotheses tested provides evidence for the validity of the QEWB as an
instrument for assessing eudaimonic well-being. Implications for theory and future research directions are
discussed.
Keywords: eudaimonism; psychosocial identity; scale validity; well-being
Introduction
Eudaimonic Well-Being (EWB) refers to quality of life
derived from the development of a person’s best
potentials and their application in the fulfillment of
personally expressive, self-concordant goals (Sheldon,
2002; Waterman, 1990a, 2008). It has emerged as both
a complement and contrast to subjective well-being
(SWB) for understanding and studying quality of life
(Kashdan, Biswas-Diener, & King, 2008; Ryan & Deci,
2001; Ryan, Huta, &, Deci, 2008; Waterman, 2008).
The origins of EWB as a construct can be traced to
classic Hellenic philosophy, most notably to the
writings of Aristotle, where happiness in the form of
eudaimonia was contrasted with the more traditional
understanding of happiness as hedonia or pleasure.
However, in a recent exchange of views in the Journal
of Positive Psychology (2008) on the merits of the EWB
construct, questions were raised regarding the fidelity
with which efforts to employ eudaimonic constructs
in psychology reflect the meaning of the term as
understood either in classical or contemporary eudai-
monist philosophy. Kashan et al. (2008), critics of
EWB, referred to ‘bracket-creep’, the extension of
EWB to an ever-widening circle of psychological
variables differing from Aristotelian thought to vary-
ing degrees and called into question the value of
continued attempts to ground research efforts on
well-being in philosophical insights. Waterman (1990,
1993b, 2008), a contributor to eudaimonic theory and
research, expressed a similar caution that such
expanded application of the construct could result
in EWB becoming a virtual synonym for positive
psychological functioning (cf. Seligman &
Csikszentmihalyi, 1999) and thus only marginally
related to eudaimonist philosophy. While making a
case for the continued application of eudaimonic
philosophical concepts to developing psychological
theory and research on well-being, Waterman
*Corresponding author. Email: water@tcnj.edu
ISSN 1743–9760 print/ISSN 1743–9779 online
ß2010 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/17439760903435208
http://www.informaworld.com
Downloaded By: [Waterman, Alan S.] At: 17:04 28 January 2010
concluded that the value of such endeavors will depend
on the development of instruments that accurately
reflect philosophical understandings of eudaimonia
and that can be demonstrated to add to our under-
standing of quality of life beyond what can be
explained by well-being constructs already widely
studied. As such, the principal purposes of the research
reported here were to (1) develop and evaluate a
new instrument for assessing EWB closely grounded in
underlying contemporary philosophical understand-
ings of eudaimonic functioning and (2) demonstrate
the incremental value of the instrument to account
for behavior beyond the contributions made by other
conceptions of well-being.
Conceptual definitions of well-being
SWB was the first conception of well-being to receive
extensive and systematic empirical and theoretical
treatment. SWB is defined as the quality of an
individual’s life with regard to both the presence and
relative frequency of positive and negative emotions
over time, and one’s overall level of life-satisfaction
(Diener, 2000; Diener, Sapyta, & Suh, 1998; Diener,
Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999). Within the SWB para-
digm, distinctions are not made with respect to sources
of well-being. As a consequence, measures of SWB
assess the overall level of happiness or satisfaction
present and therefore include, but do not distinguish
between, hedonic and eudaimonic forms of happiness.
Research on SWB has established a wide nomological
net of associated variables indicative of successful
functioning, including positive relationships with
self-esteem, locus of control, authenticity, and effective
decision-making styles as well as negative associations
with worry, anxiety, and depression (Arrindell,
Heesink, & Feij, 1999; Ayyash-Abdo & Alamuddin,
2007; Cummins, 2002; Engin, 2006; Ito & Kodama,
2005; Neto, 1993, 1995; Paolini, Yanez, & Kelly, 2006).
Ryan and Deci (2001) employed the distinction
between hedonia and eudaimonia, two philosophical
conceptions of happiness, to generate the terms hedonic
well-being (HWB) and EWB reflecting alternative
conceptions of overall quality of life. Hedonia refers
to the subjective experiences of pleasure irrespective
of the sources from which that pleasure is derived.
Kraut (1979), a philosopher, defines hedonia as ‘the
belief that one is getting the important things one
wants, as well as certain pleasant affects that normally
go along with this belief’ (p. 178). In classical philos-
ophy, hedonia, as the basis for living ‘A Good Life’,
is associated with the work of Aristippus of Cyrene,
who held that ‘pleasure is the sole good, but also
that only one’s own physical, positive, momentary
pleasure is a good, and is so regardless of its cause’
(Tatarkiewicz, 1976, p. 317). When reviewing the
psychological literature pertaining to theory and
empirical research on HWB, Ryan and Deci (2001)
cite almost exclusively work on SWB. Because SWB
is the more traditional term, it is the term we will
employ here.
In contrast to hedonia, eudaimonia, as discussed by
Aristotle (4th Century BCE) in Nicomachean Ethics,
living A Good Life was not based on the level of
subjective pleasure experienced but on enacting a
number of specific qualities reflecting how one
‘ought’ to live. Such qualities included the pursuit of
excellence, virtue, and self-realization (Ackrill, 1973;
Annas, 2004; McDowell, 1980). Central to this per-
spective on eudaimonia is living in a manner consistent
with one’s daimon (or ‘true self’). To live ‘in truth to
one’s daimon’ (Norton, 1976) is an expression of
personal integrity through identifying one’s potential
strengths and limitations and choosing those goals that
provide personal meaning and purpose in life.
Contemporary eudaimonist philosophers, including
Kraut (1979) and Norton (1976), have observed that
there is a characteristic set of subjective experiences
present when living in a manner consistent with the
qualities described by Aristotle. Norton (1976)
described this as the feeling of ‘being where one
wants to be, doing what one wants to do’ (p. 216),
where what is wanted is to be taken as being some-
thing worth doing. Waterman and colleagues (1990a,
1993b, 2005; Waterman et al., 2003; Waterman,
Schwartz, & Conti, 2008) labeled the subjective
experiences of eudaimonia as feelings of personal
expressiveness and demonstrated that they are charac-
teristically present when acting in ways perceived to
involve the development of one’s best potentials and
the use of these potentials in pursuit of one’s purpose
in living. They also found eudaimonia to be associated
with an array of variables indexing intrinsic motiva-
tion, including self-determination, a balance of chal-
lenges and skills, and the investment of considerable
effort.
When conceptualizing eudaimonia in terms of its
subjective qualities, it is important to recognize the
distinction made within the SWB and EWB frame-
works with regard to value place on those subjective
experiences. With respect to SWB, happiness (hedonia)
is viewed as an end in itself, that is, the outcome goal
being sought. In contrast, for those employing an
EWB perspective, the subjective experiences of feelings
of expressiveness (eudaimonia) are a byproduct of
engaging in actions consistent with the development
and expression of one’s best potentials and the pursuit
of intrinsic goals. Such subjective experiences serve as
a valuable indicator for when those potentials are
being furthered, but they are not being sought as a
42 A.S. Waterman et al.
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goal in itself. The motive for eudaimonic activity is
the value of the activity itself, not the subjective
experiences that accompany it. As Nozick (1974)
demonstrated in his classic challenge to philosophical
hedonism, people care to experience happiness only
when it is a consequence of actual accomplishments
or other events in reality, not when the equivalent
happiness is the result of an illusion of the same events
produced by an ‘experience machine’, no matter how
perfect the illusion. If happiness under the latter
condition is rejected, then it cannot be the ultimate
goal being sought. The source of happiness is essential
to the value placed upon it.
Just as eudaimonia as discussed in philosophy has
both subjective and objective elements, so too EWB,
as a construct at a level comparable to SWB concern-
ing quality of life, can have two types of referents:
(1) subjective elements pertaining to what individuals
experience when dedicated to excellence in the fulfill-
ment of personal potentials, and (2) objective elements
pertaining to those behaviors that promote or are
otherwise associated with the individual’s pursuit
of eudaimonic goals. Contemporary philosophers and
psychologists employing a subjective approach have
continued the longstanding tradition of translating
eudaimonia as happiness, whereas those adopting an
objective understanding of eudaimonia have advocated
translating the term from the Greek as flourishing
(Keyes & Haidt, 2002). It should be recognized that
these approaches to defining EWB are compatible
rather than being mutually exclusive alternatives.
In introducing the term EWB, Ryan and Deci
(2001) focused primarily on objective elements of
psychological functioning. Ryan, Huta, and Deci
(2008) demonstrated theoretical linkages of eudaimo-
nic thought to self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan,
1985, 2002) focusing attention on the processes
involved in quality of living and emphasizing among
other elements autonomy and the pursuit of intrinsic
goals. In the contrast of hedonic/subjective with
eudaimonic approaches to well-being, Ryan and
Deci (2001) drew heavily on the work of Ryff and
her colleagues on psychological well-being (PWB)
(Ryff, 1989; Ryff & Keyes, 1995; Ryff & Singer,
2008) when describing the functioning of individuals
high on EWB. Ryff (1989) identified six core dimen-
sions deemed essential for quality of life: (1) autonomy,
(2) environmental mastery, (3) personal growth,
(4) positive relations with others, (5) purpose in life,
and (6) self-acceptance. Using this definition of EWB,
Ryan and Deci (2001) cited findings indicating a wide
nomological net of associated variables consistent
with living A Good Life. Such variables include life
satisfaction, overall happiness levels, self-esteem,
internal locus of control, adaptive coping strategies,
conscientiousness, extraversion, authenticity, and low
neuroticism (Keyes, Shmotkin, & Ryff, 2002; Kling,
Sletzer, & Ryff, 1997; Ryff, 1989; Schmutte & Ryff,
1997; Wood, Linley, Maltby, Baliousis, & Joseph,
2008).
Waterman (2008), writing in support of eudaimonic
theory and research, expressed reservations regarding
whether the conflation of EWB with PWB was
appropriate at the present time. Ryff and Singer
(2008) place their work on PWB firmly within an
Aristotelian framework, emphasizing the importance
of the pursuit of goals other than subjective experi-
ences of hedonia. The psychological qualities char-
acterizing PWB are undoubtedly aspects of mental
health and successful functioning and constitute a
viable conceptualization of flourishing. It does not
follow, however, that the particular qualities they
describe correspond to flourishing as that concept
might have been recognized by Aristotle or as it is
employed by contemporary philosophers working
within the eudaimonic tradition. It is beyond the
scope of this report to analyze the extent of corre-
spondence among conceptions of flourishing (see
Waterman, 2008, for a discussion of the issues involved
here). For present purposes, it may be sufficient to
consider PWB as an objective approach to under-
standing well-being in terms of the presence of an
array of psychological qualities indicative of mental
health.
In the presentation that follows, the term EWB
will be used to refer to well-being incorporating both
subjective and objective elements. The subjective
elements are experiences of eudaimonia/feelings of
personal expressiveness. The objective elements include
those behaviors involved in the pursuit of eudaimonic
goals such as self-realization entailing the identification
and development of personal potentials and their
utilization in ways that give purpose and meaning
to life.
Waterman (2008), in his analysis of the strengths
and limitations of the use of eudaimonic concepts
within psychology, raised the question of the inter-
relationships among SWB, PWB, and EWB. He
argued that whether SWB, PWB, and EWB represent
three distinguishable conceptions of well-being or are
essentially three facets of the same underlying con-
struct is still an open question. This is also an empirical
question, and addressing it will depend upon the
availability of valid instruments for assessing each
construct. There are established measures for assessing
SWB and PWB that have received extensive validation.
The research reported here provides information on
the properties of a new instrument, the Questionnaire
for Eudaimonic Well-Being (QEWB) designed to assess
EWB in terms of elements associated with eudaimonia
The Journal of Positive Psychology 43
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as portrayed within contemporary eudaimonist philo-
sophical analyses. The QEWB will then be compared
with measures of SWB and PWB with respect to
its ability to predict variables associated with quality
of life.
The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being
Consistent with the standards for scale construction
recommended by Simms (2008), development of the
QEWB was strongly theory driven with item selection
and revision guided by the multiple aspects used to
define the construct under study. In developing the
QEWB as an operational definition of EWB, priority
was placed on the creation of items closely grounded in
philosophical understandings of eudaimonic function-
ing. Included were items reflecting specific qualities
descriptive of eudaimonic functioning in the philoso-
phical literature (e.g., the pursuit of excellence and
self-realization) as well as items covering the subjective
experiences of eudaimonia (e.g., feelings that activities
engaged in are personally expressive). To be consistent
with instruments assessing other well-being related
constructs as person-level variables, items on the new
instrument were worded to refer to a respondent’s
general level of eudaimonic functioning instead of
experiences associated with specific activities, as was
done in earlier research on eudaimonia (Waterman
et al., 2003, 2008).
If abstract philosophical constructs are to play a
useful role in empirical psychological research, they
must be translated into elements of psychological
theory sufficiently specific to be measured empirically.
In the present instance, eudaimonic identity theory
(Waterman, 1992, 1993a, 2004, 2007a) served as the
bridging framework for the development of potential
items for inclusion in the QEWB. The theory links
eudaimonist philosophy with the study of psycholog-
ical functioning, and it emerged from consideration
of two questions. (1) In the task of identity formation,
do some potential identity elements represent ‘better’
resolutions to an identity crisis than others? (2) If so,
how are the ‘better’ choices to be recognized?
Eudaimonic identity theory draws upon eudaimonist
philosophical constructs, including the daimon or ‘true
self’, self-realization, the pursuit of excellence, and
eudaimonia (as a form of subjective experience)
(Aristotle, 4
th
century BCE; Norton, 1976) to integrate
aspects of the psychosocial perspective on identity
formation (Erikson, 1963, 1968; Marcia, 1966, 1980;
Waterman, 1982) with the self-determination theory of
intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Briefly
stated, eudaimonic identity theory holds that the
most successful resolutions to identity questions
are those through which individuals can identify and
develop those talents and skills that represent their best
potentials and that further those goals seen as giving
purpose and meaning to life. A way to recognize
‘better’ identity choices, those that can serve as the
basis for personally meaningful commitments, is by
identifying those activities giving rise to feelings of
personal expressiveness (eudaimonia). Because feelings
of personal expressiveness, experiences closely linked
with intrinsic motivation, are viewed as arising in
connection with the development of one’s best
potentials and their use when pursuing personally
concordant life goals, basing identity decisions on
these potentials has a strong likelihood of proving
a sustainable source of well-being (Waterman, 1992,
1993a; Waterman et al., 2008). The initial item pool for
the QEWB was composed of items in six inter-related
categories with strong philosophical–psychological
linkages: (1) self-discovery, (2) perceived development
of one’s best potentials, (3) a sense of purpose and
meaning in life, (4) investment of significant effort
in pursuit of excellence, (5) intense involvement in
activities, and (6) enjoyment of activities as personally
expressive.
Self-discovery
Norton (1976) identified two great Hellenic impera-
tives as expressing central elements in eudaimonist
philosophy: (1) ‘know thyself’ (the inscription on the
temple of Apollo at Delphi) and (2) ‘choose yourself’,
or in the words of Pindar, ‘become what you are’.
Eudaimonism, as an ethical theory, calls upon each
person to recognize and live in accordance with his/her
daimon, that is, to strive toward self-realization.
However, before it is possible to make any notable
progress toward self-realization, it is necessary to have
recognized and decided what type of person one
already is. This makes the process of self-discovery
central to eudaimonic functioning. It also serves to link
eudaimonic well-being to success in the process of
identity formation (Waterman, 1992, 1993a, 2004).
An example of an item on the QEWB tapping
self-discovery is ‘I believe I have discovered who
I really am’.
Perceived development one’s best potentials
From a eudaimonist perspective, one of the most
important elements to learn about oneself concerns
those unique potentials that represent the best a person
is able to become (Norton, 1976). It is not only
necessary to identify those potentials, one must also
actively strive to act upon them so that they can
become fully developed. A QEWB item tapping this
aspect of EWB is ‘I believe I know what my best
potentials are and I try to develop them whenever
possible’.
44 A.S. Waterman et al.
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A sense of purpose and meaning in life
It is one thing to have identified one’s talents and skills,
but it is another to have decided toward what life goals
those talents and skills are to be directed. In order
to experience EWB, individuals must find ways for
putting their skills and talents to use in the pursuit
of personally meaningful objectives. A QEWB item
designed to assess this component of EWB is ‘I can say
that I have found my purpose in life’.
Investment of significant effort in pursuit of
excellence
The philosopher De Spinoza (1677/1951) concluded
The Ethics with the observation that ‘all things
excellent are as difficult as they are rare’. This quote
implies the need for exceptional effort in the pursuit of
excellence. Because experiences of EWB are predicated
on self-realization through the full use of one’s
skills and talents in personally meaningful activities,
it follows that the level of effort invested in such
activities will be considerably greater than in other
activities in which a person engages. Accordingly,
Waterman (2005) found a strong positive association
between eudaimonia and the level of effort invested in
activities. Items on the QEWB tapping investment of
significant effort include ‘I feel best when I am doing
something worth investing a great deal of effort in’.
Intense involvement in activities
When individuals are engaged in personally meaningful
activities that make full use of their skills and talents, the
intensity of their involvement in these activities should
be considerably higher than when engaging in other,
more routine activities. Csikszentmihalyi (1990) has
labeled such intense involvement ‘flow’ and has
demonstrated that it is associated both with the
balance of challenges and skills during the performance
of activities and with a distinctive set of subjective
experiences. Waterman and colleagues (1993b;
Waterman et al., 2003, 2008) found that feelings of
personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) were positively
correlated both with a balance of challenges and skills
and with subjective experiences of flow. Therefore,
an index of the extent of EWB experienced should be
the frequency of intense involvement in the activities
in which a person engages. A QEWB item assessing
this aspect of EWB is ‘I find I get intensely involved
in many of the things I do each day’.
Enjoyment of activities as personally expressive
One of the clearest and most essential defining aspects
of EWB is direct experiences of happiness in the form
of eudaimonia. Persons characterized as high on EWB
should report that what they are doing in their lives is
personally expressive of who they are, and they should
do so far more often than those with lower EWB.
An item on the QEWB designed to assess this aspect
of EWB is ‘It is more important that I really enjoy
what I do than that others are impressed by it’.
Pilot research on the QEWB
An initial pool of 25 items was created for the QEWB.
Those items were administered to a sizable sample of
college undergraduates in a pilot study. Items were
eliminated if they served to markedly reduce the
value of Cronbach’s alpha for the scale as a whole.
Comments offered by these pilot participants regarding
the clarity of various items resulted in the rewording
of several items. In addition, based on the feedback
received, several new items were created for inclusion
in the 21-item scale used in the research reported here.
Overview of the current study
The current study involved a three-part evaluation
of the QEWB with two large, geographically and
demographically diverse samples of college students.
The study included (1) an evaluation of the psycho-
metric properties of scores generated by the instru-
ment, (2) a series of comparisons of QEWB scores
across demographic groups, and (3) an assessment of
convergent, discriminant, construct, and incremental
validity of the questionnaire involving tests of six
theory-based hypotheses. Here too, the evaluative
approach adopted is consistent with the guidelines
advocated by Simms (2008) with regard to both the
use of a range of validity strategies and the assessment
of a relatively broad nomological net of variables
whose degree of association with the construct under
study was expected to vary based upon theoretical
considerations.
Psychometric properties
In addition to calculating measures of observed range,
central tendency, and variability, the degree of kurtosis
and skewness were ascertained. Confirmatory factor
analyses (CFA) were conducted to determine whether
the items on the QEWB formed a single common
factor, and Cronbach’s alphas were calculated as an
indicator of internal consistency.
Demographic comparisons
Possible differences in QEWB scores between groups
based upon five demographic variables were investi-
gated. These variables were gender, age, ethnicity,
family income, and family structure. Conducting
demographic comparisons was undertaken for
The Journal of Positive Psychology 45
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exploratory purposes. With the possible exception
of age, there is no basis within eudaimonic identity
theory for expecting demographic variables to be
related to the level of EWB reported. Given that
identity formation, including commitment and explo-
ration, has been shown to function as a developmental
variable (Luyckx, Goossens, & Soenens, 2006; Meeus,
1996; Waterman, 1982), there is the possibility that
age-related changes may occur with respect to EWB,
although whether this will occur during the college
years is uncertain. If substantial demographic differ-
ences with respect to EWB are observed, these could
provide a basis for identifying social conditions that
may serve to facilitate or hinder eudaimonic function-
ing. Alternatively, if demographic variables are found
to play little or no role with respect to EWB, it would
suggest relatively comparable opportunities for such
functioning within the population studied.
Scale validation
Before specifying the various hypotheses used to
evaluate the validity of the QEWB, it should be helpful
to provide a general overview of how EWB is expected
to function with respect to the categories of outcome
variables selected for use here. As stated above, the
conceptual description of EWB provided draws
extensively on eudaimonic identity theory. Given the
central role posited for self-realization in eudaimonic
functioning, it is essential that individuals have a clear
understanding of who they are, what they value, and
what they want to do in their lives. In other words,
strong commitments to particular identity elements
should be evident. Strong identity commitments may
be formed either through a process of exploration of
a number of alternative possibilities, or through
identification with model figures in their lives. It is
not guaranteed, however, that either exploration or
identification will necessarily result in the adoption of
suitable identity alternatives. For this reason, EWB
is viewed as a consequence of having adopted mean-
ingful commitments and not as a function of the
processes by which such commitments become
established.
EWB, as a conception of well-being, would be
expected to be positively related to other conceptions
of well-being, specifically SWB and PWB. Individuals
making progress toward self-realization should feel in
control of what they are doing in their lives, exhibit
competence, and perceive their social relationships
as satisfying and fulfilling. In sum, they should feel
reasonably good about how their lives are unfolding.
Just as EWB should be related to other conceptions
of well-being, it would be expected that it will also be
related to the variables previously identified as related
to SWB and PWB, particularly variables associated
with positive and negative psychological functioning
such as self-esteem, an internal locus of control,
anxiety, and depression. Moreover, having postulated
that EWB, SWB, and PWB are expected to operate
in parallel fashion with respect to an array of outcome
variables, it will also be important to determine
whether there is any incremental utility to distinguish-
ing among these three constructs. That is, do any of
these well-being constructs contribute unique variabil-
ity in psychosocial indices that this not shared with the
other indices of well-being?
As important as it is to identify those variables
that should be included in the nomological net of
EWB, it is also necessary to determine the types of
variables that are relatively independent of EWB. We
anticipate that most demographic variables will fall
into the latter category. Personality variables such
as the Big Five personality traits are also expected to be
modestly related to eudaimonic functioning. It is true
that people with different personalities may seek
self-realization in widely differing ways, but the
extent to which they are successful or not in making
progress toward their specific eudaimonic goals is not
seen as strongly determined by which particular
personality traits they express. Considerations such as
these led to development of six hypotheses covering
four approaches to the evaluation of the QEWB’s
validity.
Convergent validity
Hypotheses 1 and 2 were evaluated with respect to
demonstrating convergent validity of the QEWB
with measures of successful identity formation and
with measures of SWB and PWB.
Hypothesis 1. Scores on the QEWB should be positively
associated with indicators of success with respect to the
development of identity commitments (Erikson, 1968;
Marcia, 1966).
The construct of eudaimonic well-being embodies the
idea that individuals have identified with some accu-
racy their skills and talents, are engaged in activities to
further their development, and are endeavoring to put
those skills and talents into practice toward goals and
purposes deemed to be personally meaningful. All of
these imply that persons with high QEWB scores have
a clear and expressive sense of personal identity to
which they are committed.
Given that the items on the QEWB were based
upon constructs drawn from eudaimonic identity
theory, it should be expected that QEWB scores
would be correlated positively with traditional identity
measures involving the dimension of commitment.
Whereas items on typical identity instruments are
generic with respect to the content of potential identity
elements, the QEWB items are specific with reference
46 A.S. Waterman et al.
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to identifying and developing one’s best potentials and
establishing commitments to goals that involve using
such skills and talents to give purpose and meaning to
life. In other words, QEWB items make reference to
identity elements associated with self-discovery and
self-realization. In addition to identity-related items,
the QEWB includes items (1) pertaining to the levels
of involvement and effort invested in activities and
(2) tapping feelings of personal expressiveness (eudai-
monia), content not included in other instruments
for assessing psychosocial identity. Thus, there is only
partial overlap of QEWB items with traditional
identity instruments.
Hypothesis 2. Scores on the QEWB should be positively
associated with indicators of other forms of well-being,
specifically measures of SWB and PWB.
It is expected on the basis of theory that the various
forms of well-being should converge (Telfer, 1990).
Individuals who are engaged in personally expressive
activities and who are self-realizing should report high
levels of satisfaction with their lives (SWB). In turn,
being happy in life should facilitate engaging in
eudaimonic pursuits. Similarly, the positive psycholog-
ical functioning indicative of PWB should facilitate the
discovery of one’s personal potentials, whereas low
PWB should interfere with such undertakings. In
addition, success with respect to eudaimonic function-
ing should result in still further increases in PWB.
Given the expected relatively strong correlations
among measures of the three conceptualizations of
well-being, it will be important to determine whether
each makes a distinctive contribution to various
outcome variables associated with quality of life (that
is, the incremental validity of EWB, SWB, and PWB
measures).
Discriminant validity
The discriminant validity of the QEWB was assessed
with respect to the strength of the relationships of
EWB with measures of identity exploration
(Hypothesis 3) and personality traits (Hypothesis 4).
Hypothesis 3. Whereas QEWB scores should be
strongly related to measures of identity commitment,
it is predicted that the correlations with measures of
identity exploration, while generally positive, will be
more modest.
On the basis of eudaimonic identity theory, it is
expected that identity exploration in breadth (consid-
eration of various alternatives) should increase the
probability of successfully identifying personal poten-
tials. There are, however, two sets circumstances under
which engaging in exploration of identity alternatives
would contraindicate EWB. One pertains to indivi-
duals who are currently involved in active exploration
and who, therefore, have not as yet formed personally
meaningful identity commitments. Because there can
be no assurance that exploration will result in a
successful outcome, there will be another group who
have a history of past exploration but who lack current
commitments. Both of these instances should have the
effect of limiting the strength of the association of
QEWB scores with measures of identity exploration.
Further, it is possible that individuals will develop
strong, personally meaningful identity commitments
early in life on the basis of identification with signif-
icant others (for example, parents, teachers, or leaders
within the community). This process does not entail the
active exploration of alternative possibilities. It should
also be noted that, whereas the QEWB does contain
items tapping identity commitments, it does not
contain items bearing on identity exploration.
Luyckx and colleagues (Luyckx et al., 2005, 2006)
have delineated two types of identity exploration that
can be considered normative. The first is exploration in
breadth, that is, consideration of a wide range of
differing possibilities, corresponding to what has been
termed moratorium in the identity status paradigm
(Marcia, 1966). The second is exploration in depth,
entailing extensive consideration of commitments that
one has already enacted. Whereas modest positive
correlations of QEWB scores with measures of
such normative identity exploration are anticipated,
a negative correlation is expected for what Luyckx
et al. (2008a) have termed ruminative exploration.
Exploration of this type involves feeling trapped in
approach-avoidance conflicts and may become obses-
sive and anxiety provoking, ultimately leading to a
paralysis of action.
Hypothesis 4. The correlations of QEWB scores with
measures of personality traits are expected to be of
relatively modest strength.
In the present research, we studied sensation seeking
and the Big-Five personality factors (extraversion,
agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and
intellect/imagination) as personality traits. Whereas
some personality traits may facilitate and others hinder
(recognition of an individual’s best potentials and
subsequent efforts directed to self-realization), success
with respect to eudaimonic functioning is viewed as
more a function of the choices a person makes rather
than of personality traits, per se. It is likely that the
nature of the unique potentials a person may pursue
will vary based on personality characteristics. For
example, those high on extraversion may be more likely
to pursue potentials involving social activities whereas
those low on this personality factor would be more
likely to develop potentials in other domains. However,
whether or not the person chooses to pursue eudai-
monic potentials in some domain should be largely
independent of their standing on any particular trait.
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Construct validity
Hypothesis 5 represents an initial effort to build
a theory-based nomological network of concepts
predicted to be related to EWB, specifically with
respect to variables representing positive and negative
psychological functioning. The variables chosen for
study can be considered indicators of quality of life.
Hypothesis 5. Scores on the QEWB should be associated
with indicators of positive and negative psychological
functioning. Specifically, positive correlations should be
expected with measures of self-esteem and internal
locus of control, whereas negative correlations should
be found for measures of general anxiety, social anxiety,
and depression.
If individuals are having success in identifying and
developing their skills and talents and in establishing
purposes in living consistent with those potentials,
it follows that they should have a positive sense as to
how they are doing in life (positive self-esteem) and
believe that they are the locus for determining what
they do, and not do, in their lives (internal locus of
control; Coˆ te
´, 1996). Correspondingly, their effective
psychological functioning should be inversely asso-
ciated with symptoms of general and social anxiety and
depression. Because there is no content overlap
between items on the QEWB and the measures
employed to test this hypothesis, confirmation of the
expected relationships would constitute evidence of
construct validity.
Incremental validity
Hypothesis 6 was developed as a vehicle for addressing
the question as to whether EWB, SWB, and PWB
constitute empirically distinguishable conceptions of
well-being or, alternatively, are three ways of assessing
a common core construct.
Hypothesis 6. Whereas it is anticipated that there will be
a high level of interrelationships among measures of the
three conceptions of well-being (and therefore a high
level of common variance accounted for when predicting
outcome variables), it is predicted that each will
account for unique portions of variance. Further, which
well-being variable accounts for the most variability
uniquely will vary depending, in part, on the domain
within which the outcome variable falls. EWB is
expected to account for a greater portion of variability
uniquely for variables associated with identity function-
ing in comparison with variance explained by SWB
and PWB.
The determination as to whether EWB, SWB, and
PWB (1) represent facets of a common underlying
construct pertaining to quality of life or (2) represent
overlapping but distinguishable paths to that objec-
tive depends on the extent to which each can be
shown to make an independent contribution when
predicting behavior. Given the focus of this research on
demonstrating the validity of the QEWB, the outcome
variables selected for study included those for which
it was anticipated that incremental validity of QEWB
scores could be demonstrated. It is expected that the
greatest independent contributions of EWB to out-
come variables will occur for variables associated with
success in the psychosocial task of identity formation.
The proportion of unique variability explained by each
of the three conceptions of well-being was also
evaluated for the variables pertaining to positive and
negative psychological functioning though no a priori
predictions were made regarding the relative contribu-
tions of EWB, SWB, and PWB. If none of the three
well-being predictor variables are found to explain
substantial portions of the variance in outcome
variables uniquely, this would support the view that
EWB, SWB, and PWB are essentially three ways of
looking at a common core construct.
Method
Participants
Sample 1
Participants in Sample 1 were 1728 students enrolled at
nine colleges and universities in the United States. The
sample was composed of 424 (24%) males, 1334 (76%)
females, and 17 unidentified with respect to gender.
The percentage breakdown by year in school was
freshmen (42%), sophomores (21%), juniors (19%),
seniors (14%), and graduate and other students (4%).
The average participant age was 20.04 years (SD ¼3.44
years). The sample was ethnically diverse: European
Americans (52%), African Americans (9%), Hispanic
Americans (25%), Asian Americans (7%), and other
ethnicities (7%).
Sample 2
Participants in Sample 2 were 5606 students enrolled
at 14 colleges and universities in the United States.
The sample was composed of 1409 (25%) males,
4162 (74%) females, and 35 unidentified with
respect to gender. The percentage breakdown by year
in school was freshmen (32%), sophomores (24%),
juniors (21%), seniors (15%), and graduate and other
students (8%). The average participant age was 20.38
years (SD ¼3.57 years). The sample was again ethni-
cally diverse: European Americans (62%), African
Americans (11%), Hispanic Americans (18%), Asian
Americans (8%), and other ethnicities (1%).
In both samples, sites were identified for participa-
tion in a research collaborative based in part on
achieving an ethnically diverse sample with a geo-
graphic distribution across the United States.
48 A.S. Waterman et al.
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In Sample 1, two of the sites were located in the
Northeast, two in the Southeast, one in the Midwest,
one in the Southwest, and three in the West. Sample 2
added one additional site in the Northeast, two sites
in the Southeast, one site in the Midwest, and one site
in the Southwest. One Northeast site from the first
data collection did not participate in the second.
For both samples, sites included major state univer-
sities, smaller state universities, and private colleges.
Participants were recruited from courses in several
disciplines including psychology, family studies, soci-
ology, and education. All were asked to complete
an online survey. Students recruited from psychology
courses received credit toward the completion of a
research participation requirement. Students from
courses in other disciplines received credit toward
course grades in exchange for their participation.
Instruments
Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being (QEWB;
Samples 1 and 2)
The QEWB consists of 21 items covering the range
of elements associated with eudaimonic well-being.
These items are presented in Table 1.
The item statements are responded to on a 5-point
Likert-type scale, with possible choices ranging from
0(Strongly Disagree)to4(Strongly Agree). Fourteen of
the items are written in an affirmative direction
with high scores indicative of EWB; and 7 items are
written in the negative direction, implying the absence
of EWB, and are reverse scored. Information on the
scale’s psychometric properties is presented in the
Results section.
Demographics (Samples 1 and 2)
Five demographic variables were analyzed in connec-
tion with the QEWB: gender, age, ethnicity, family
income, and family structure. In order to create groups
of sufficient size for purposes of statistical analysis
at the upper end of the age distribution, nine age
categories were created: 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23–25,
26–30, and 31 and above. Participants were also asked
which of the following ethnic groups they identify with:
White/European American, Black/African American,
Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, South
African, or Other. The last three categories were
characterized by small cell sizes and were not used in
comparisons across ethnicity. Four response alterna-
tives were provided in the item regarding family
income: (1) below US$30,000, (2) US$30,000 to
US$50,000, (3) US$50,000 to US$100,000, and
(4) above US$100,000. Several items were used to
determine the respondent’s family structure. For the
purposes of this project, the following five possible
Table 1. The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being.
This questionnaire contains a series of statements that refer to how you may feel things have been going in your life. Read each
statement and decide the extent to which you agree or disagree with it. Try to respond to each statement according to your own
feelings about how things are actually going, rather than how you might wish them to be.
Please use the following scale when responding to each statement.
Strongly Disagree 01234Strongly Agree
1. I find I get intensely involved in many of the things I do each day.
2. I believe I have discovered who I really am.
3. I think it would be ideal if things came easily to me in my life. (R)
4. My life is centered around a set of core beliefs that give meaning to my life.
5. It is more important that I really enjoy what I do than that other people are impressed by it.
6. I believe I know what my best potentials are and I try to develop them whenever possible.
7. Other people usually know better what would be good for me to do than I know myself. (R)
8. I feel best when I’m doing something worth investing a great deal of effort in.
9. I can say that I have found my purpose in life.
10. If I did not find what I was doing rewarding for me, I do not think I could continue doing it.
11. As yet, I’ve not figured out what to do with my life. (R)
12. I can’t understand why some people want to work so hard on the things that they do. (R)
13. I believe it is important to know how what I’m doing fits with purposes worth pursuing.
14. I usually know what I should do because some actions just feel right to me.
15. When I engage in activities that involve my best potentials, I have this sense of really being alive.
16. I am confused about what my talents really are. (R)
17. I find a lot of the things I do are personally expressive for me.
18. It is important to me that I feel fulfilled by the activities that I engage in.
19. If something is really difficult, it probably isn’t worth doing. (R)
20. I find it hard to get really invested in the things that I do. (R)
21. I believe I know what I was meant to do in life.
(R) Item is reverse scored.
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structures were determined: (1) intact families, (2) step-
families in which a stepparent was identified as one of
the most important parent figures in the participant’s
life, (3) families in which the parents had separated or
divorced but where both biological parents were
identified as the most important parent figures in the
participant’s life, (4) families in which the participant’s
parents had never been married, and (5) other family
arrangements.
Measures of identity functioning (Samples 1 and 2)
The item statements for all three instruments described
below were responded to using a 5-point Likert-type
scale ranging from 0 (Strongly Disagree)to4(Strongly
Agree). Detailed information on the psychometric
properties of these and other measures are provided
in the references cited for the respective instruments.
The Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory. (EPSI;
Rosenthal, Gurney, & Moore, 1981) assesses the
respondent’s current functioning with respect to each
of Erikson’s (1968) first six stages of psychosocial
development. Only the Stage 5 subscale, assessing
identity vs. role confusion, was included in the current
data collection. The subscale is composed of 12 items,
six worded in a positive direction indicative of identity
synthesis, and six worded in the negative direction,
indicative of role confusion. The six negatively worded
were reverse scored and summed with the positively
worded items to yield a single index of personal identity
synthesis, with higher scores reflecting more success
with respect to identity formation. Cronbach’s alpha
was 0.84 in both samples.
Four 5-item subscales from the Identity Issues
Inventory (III; Coˆ te
´, 2006) were selected for inclusion
in this research. These were (1) syntonic subjective
expression, (2) syntonic behavioral expression,
(3) dystonic subjective expression, and (4) dystonic
behavioral expression. Successful (syntonic) identity
integration entails a sense of temporal-spatial continu-
ity over time and situational context. At the subjective
level, integration refers to a unified sense of self, feeling
like a ‘whole person’. On a behavioral level, the person
shows a stable pattern of self-presentation across
contexts and a stable pattern of interests, habits,
and activity choices. Less successful (dystonic) iden-
tity integration is experienced on a subjective level
as feelings of being fragmented and confused. On a
behavioral level, such dystonic experiences are reflected
in varied and inconsistent self-expression in social
interactions with others and a belief that one cannot be
relied upon by others. In Samples 1 and 2, respectively,
Cronbach’s alpha estimates were as follows: subjective
syntonic, 0.81 and 0.82; subjective dystonic, 0.89 and
0.90; behavioral syntonic, 0.62 and 0.70; and behav-
ioral dystonic, 0.67 and 0.74.
The Dimensions of Identity Development Scale. (DIDS;
Luyckx et al., 2008) includes scales for five dimensions
of identity functioning related to forming identity
commitments and exploring identity alternatives. Each
of the five scales on the DIDS is composed of five
items. The dimension of commitment making, similar to
Marcia’s conception of commitment, refers to having
made clear identity choices regarding important areas
of life. Identification with commitment refers to the
extent to which respondents feel certain about their
choices, and internalize and identify with the content of
identity elements that they have selected. Exploration
in breadth is a dimension reflecting the consideration of
a relatively broad array of potential identity choices in
the process of forming a personal sense of identity.
Such exploration in breadth may be ongoing or may
have occurred in the past. Exploration in depth refers
to ongoing efforts to think about the implications
of the identity choices one has made and to find the
most appropriate ways to implement them. Ruminative
exploration is a counterproductive identity process
associated with doubt, worry, and potentially obsessive
concern about deciding upon a direction in life. Unlike
other indices of exploration, ruminative exploration
should be negatively related to QEWB scores. In the
present samples, Cronbach’s alpha coefficients were as
follows: commitment making, 0.92 and 0.92; identifi-
cation with commitment, 0.93 and 0.93; exploration
in breadth, 0.83 and 0.84; exploration in depth, 0.81
and 0.81; and ruminative exploration, 0.86 and 0.86.
Measures of subjective and psychological well-being
(Sample 2 only)
SWB was assessed using the Satisfaction with Life
Scale (SWLS; Pavot & Diener, 1993). The SWLS
consists of five statements reflecting contentment and
being pleased about how one’s life has turned out.
Items are responded to on a 6-point Likert-type scale
ranging from 1 (Strongly Disagree)to6(Strongly
Agree). The SWLS has been used in research around
the world (Kuppens, Realo, & Diener, 2008). In
Sample 2, Cronbach’s alpha for SWLS scores was 0.86.
PWB was assessed using the 18-item version of the
Scales of Psychological Well-Being (SPWB; Ryff &
Keyes, 1995). This instrument is composed of six
3-item subscales used to assess the dimensions of PWB
identified by Ryff (1989): autonomy, environmental
mastery, personal growth, positive relations with
others, purpose in life, and self-acceptance. The
response scale was a 6-point Likert-type scale ranging
from 1 (Strongly Disagree)to6(Strongly Agree). Ten
items are worded in a positive direction indicating
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well-being and eight in a negative direction, the latter
being reverse scored. A composite score for PWB is
created by summing across the 18 items. In Sample 2,
Cronbach’s alpha for the composite score was 0.81.
Measures of personality traits
Two instruments were employed to assess respondents’
standing with respect to personality traits.
The Arnett Sensation Seeking Scale. (ASSS; Arnett,
1994) (Samples 1 and 2) was used to assess sensation
seeking, a personality disposition that has been
associated with increased propensity toward risk
taking (Zuckerman, 1994, 2007). The ASSS consists
of 20 items assessing the extent to which individuals
seek out novel and intense experiences. The response
scale employed was a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging
from 1 (Strongly Disagree)to5(Strongly Agree).
Cronbach’s alpha estimates were 0.64 in both samples.
The Big-Five personality factors were assessed
using the Mini-International Personality Item Pool—
Five-Factor Model (Mini-IPIP; Donnellan, Oswald,
Baird, & Lucas, 2006) (Sample 2 only). The Mini-IPIP
is a 20-item measure assessing the Big Five personality
traits, with imagination used in place of openness to
experience. Four items are used to assess each of the
Big Five traits. It consists of a series of statements that
respondents rate on a 5-point scale ranging from
1(Very Inaccurate)to5(Very Accurate). Cronbach’s
alphas (from the Study 2 dataset) for these subscales
are as follows: extraversion, 0.77; agreeableness, 0.64;
conscientiousness, 0.66; neuroticism, 0.64; and imagina-
tion, 0.68.
Measures of positive and negative psychosocial
functioning (Samples 1 and 2)
All the measures described below were responded
to using a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from
0(Strongly Disagree)to4(Strongly Agree).
The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. (RSES;
Rosenberg, 1986) consists of 10 items tapping an
overall evaluative assessment of how respondents think
of themselves. Five of the items are worded in a
positive direction and five in a negative direction.
Negatively worded items were reverse coded, and the
10 items were summed to create a total scale score. In
Samples 1 and 2, Cronbach’s alpha was 0.89 and 0.88,
respectively.
An internal locus of control was assessed using
Coˆ te
´’s (1997) adaptation of Rotter’s (1966) Locus of
Control Scale (LOCS). This adaptation consists of five
items and uses the Likert-type scale format in place
of the ipsative format used in the original version.
All items were worded in a positive direction. In
Sample 1, Cronbach’s alpha was 0.62 and in Sample 2
it was 0.63.
Symptoms of general anxiety were assessed using
the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI; Beck, Steer, &
Garbin, 1988). It is comprised of 18 items referring
to whether various symptoms of anxiety were experi-
enced during the week prior to assessment. In Sample 1
Cronbach’s alpha was 0.94, and in Sample 2 it was
0.95.
The measure of social anxiety symptoms was
composed of 19 items from the Social Interaction
Anxiety Scale (SIAS; Hable, Hewitt, Norton, &
Asmundson, 1997). These items assess feelings of
fear, hesitation, and self-criticism experienced in
social situations. In Samples 1 and 2, Cronbach’s
alpha was 0.94 and 0.94, respectively.
Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center
for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D;
Radloff, 1977). It is composed of 20 items designed to
tap the occurrence of these symptoms during the week
prior to assessment. In Samples 1 and 2, Cronbach’s
alpha was 0.94 and 0.87, respectively.
Procedures
The data for this research were collected as part of the
work of the multi-site research collaborative. All data
were collected on-line at a website maintained by the
collaborative. After logging onto to the website,
participants were directed to a webpage containing
a brief description of the research being conducted
and to an informed consent form. After checking a box
to indicate their informed consent, participants could
then begin completion of a series of questionnaires.
After completing each section of the research protocol,
respondents were asked to save their responses before
proceeding to the next section. In Sample 1, 93% of
students logging onto the study website completed all
sections of the protocol. In Sample 2, 85% of students
logging onto the study website completed all sections
of the protocol.
Results
Psychometric properties and descriptive statistics
The possible range of scores on the QEWB was from
0 to 84 (85 points), and the observed range was from
16 to 84 (69 points) for Sample 1 and 7 to 84
(78 points) for Sample 2. With the observed range
representing approximately 92% of the possible range,
there appears to be quite a substantial dispersion of
scores. Measures of central tendency for Sample 1 were
mean ¼56.83, median ¼57, and mode ¼60. The cor-
responding values for Sample 2 were mean ¼54.63,
median ¼54, and mode ¼42. These values all fall
The Journal of Positive Psychology 51
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at or somewhat above the midpoint of the scale. Thus,
the levels of eudaimonic well-being being reported are
typically in the moderate range. Given that scores were
not concentrated at the upper part of the range, it
appears that the wording of the items did not create a
strong social desirability response set.
For Sample 1, the standard deviation of QEWB
scores was 10.78, with approximately 67.4% of the
sample scoring between 46 and 67. The QEWB scale
showed a kurtosis estimate of 0.29, and a skewness
estimate of 0.02. For Sample 2, the corresponding
values were as follows: The standard deviation was
10.26, with 64.0% of the sample scoring between
46 and 67. The kurtosis estimate was 0.24, and the
skewness estimate was - 0.34. These values indicate
that the distribution of QEWB scores approximates a
normal distribution.
The unifactorial structure of QEWB scores was
examined using confirmatory factor analyses (CFA).
Following Kline (2006), who recommends that no
more than 5–6 indicators should be used to define
a latent variable, we created parceled indicators to
represent the QEWB items. Five parcels were created
by summing responses to adjacent items, where the
first four parcels were created using 4 items apiece and
the fifth parcel was created using the remaining
5 adjacent items (see Little, Cunningham, Shahar, &
Widaman, 2002, for further discussion of parceling
techniques). These parcels were then entered into a
CFA model.
Using standard structural equation modeling fit
criteria, we evaluated the acceptability of the CFA
model as follows. The comparative fit index (CFI) and
the non-normed fit index (NNFI) should be 0.95 or
greater, and the root mean square error of approxi-
mation (RMSEA) and the standardized root mean
square residual (SRMR) should be 0.06 or below
(Hancock & Freeman, 2001; Tomarken & Waller,
2005). The chi-square statistic is reported but is not
used in interpretation, because it tests the null hypoth-
esis of perfect fit to the data, which is implausible and
almost certain to be rejected in models with large
samples.
For Sample 1, the CFA model for a unifactorial
structure fit the data well,
2
(5) ¼22.59, p50.001;
CFI ¼0.99; NNFI ¼0.98; RMSEA ¼0.065; SRMR ¼
0.018. Factor pattern coefficients (loadings) ranged
from 0.63 to 0.87. The Cronbach’s alpha coefficient
for QEWB scores was 0.86. Results for Sample 2 were
similar. The CFA model fit well,
2
(5) ¼165.51,
p50.001; CFI ¼0.98; NNFI ¼0.97; RMSEA ¼0.084;
SRMR ¼0.022. The factor pattern loadings ranged
from 0.60 to 0.85. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.85. The
larger chi-square value for Sample 2 is due to the much
larger sample size. The effect sizes for the chi-square
test indicate that deviations from a perfect fit to the
data were small. Using Cohen’s (1988) was an index
of effect size, wvalues for Samples 1 and 2 were 0.16
and 0.19, respectively.
Demographic comparisons
Comparisons were conducted for groups differing
along five demographic dimensions: gender, age,
ethnicity, family income, and family structure.
Gender
For Sample 1, the mean QEWB scores for females
(M¼57.60, SD ¼10.90) was significantly larger than
the mean for males (M¼54.38, SD ¼10.67), t(1665) ¼
5.25, p50.001, Cohen’s d¼0.30. For Sample 2, the
mean for females (M¼55.24, SD ¼10.19) was again
significantly larger than the mean for males (M¼52.76,
SD ¼10.24), t(4425) ¼7.00, p50.001, Cohen’s
d¼0.24. The effect sizes are small according to
conventions for interpreting dmetric effect sizes.
Age
The comparison for age involved 9 groups ranging
in age from 17 to 31 and older. For Sample 1,
a curvilinear distribution of means was observed
with the highest means found for the groups aged
17 (M¼61.37, SD ¼10.51) and 31 and above
(M¼67.50, SD ¼9.77). The lowest means were found
for groups aged 19 (M¼55.66, SD ¼10.27) and 20
(M¼55.20, SD ¼10.87). A one-way ANOVA indi-
cated a significant effect for age, F(8, 1669) ¼6.49,
p50.001,
2
¼0.03. For Sample 2, the highest means
were found for ages 31 or above (M¼60.90,
SD ¼9.49) and lowest means for ages 18 (M¼53.53,
SD ¼10.15) and 19 (M¼53.82, SD ¼10.13). A one-
way ANOVA again indicated a significant effect for
age, F(9, 4421) ¼8.77, p50.001,
2
¼0.02. Again, the
sample effect sizes indicate that, although age differ-
ences were statistically significant, minimal variance
in QEWB scores was accounted for by age.
Ethnicity
The four ethnic groups with the largest sample sizes
(Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians) were com-
pared with respect to QEWB scores. For Sample 1,
the highest mean scores were obtained by Blacks
(M¼59.05, SD ¼10.74), followed by Hispanics
(M¼58.94, SD ¼10.62), Whites (M¼55.92,
SD ¼10.53), and Asians (M¼53.11, SD ¼10.70). A
one-way ANOVA yielded a significant effect for
ethnicity, F(3, 1560) ¼14.69, p50.001,
2
was again
quite small (.03). For Sample 2, the means in order
of magnitude ran as follows: Hispanics (M¼55.73,
SD ¼10.18), Whites (M¼54.81, SD ¼10.30), Blacks
(M¼53.91, SD ¼10.27), and Asians (M¼51.45,
52 A.S. Waterman et al.
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SD ¼9.52). The corresponding analysis revealed very
small differences by ethnicity, F(3, 4346) ¼15.60,
p50.001,
2
¼0.01.
Family income
For Sample 1, groups based on family income yielded
findings indicating the highest QEWB scores for
respondents whose family income was between
US$30 K to US$50 K (M¼58.20, SD ¼10.58) and
the lowest scores for those whose family income was
above US$100 K (M¼56.06, SD ¼10.44). Differences
based on family income were not statistically signifi-
cant, F(3, 1432) ¼2.34, ns. For Sample 2, the corre-
sponding analysis produced a small but significant
effect, F(3, 4299) ¼3.03, p50.05,
2
50.01. The
highest QEWB scores were found for participants
reporting family incomes below US$30 K (M¼55.16,
SD ¼10.64), and the lowest scores were found for
participants reporting family incomes between
US$50 K and US$100 K (M¼53.94, SD ¼9.93).
Family structure
Groups were created based upon five family structures:
(1) intact families, (2) stepfamilies, (3) parents who
were separated or divorced, (4) parents who had never
married, and (5) other family arrangements. For
Sample 1, the group with ‘other’ family arrangements
had the highest mean QEWB scores (M¼58.17,
SD ¼11.50), whereas those in stepfamilies had the
lowest (M¼55.91, SD ¼11.09). However, a one-way
ANOVA revealed that these differences were not
statistically significant, F(4, 1522) ¼1.99, ns. For
Sample 2, QEWB scores differed significantly across
family forms, but this difference was extremely small,
F(4, 4052) ¼4.76, p50.02,
2
¼0.01.Scores were
highest for those from ‘other’ family arrangements
(M¼57.36, SD ¼10.47) and lowest for those from
separated or divorced families (M¼53.15,
SD ¼11.36).
Scale validation—convergent validity
Hypothesis 1—The relationship of QEWB scores to
measures of identity commitment
Table 2 displays the correlations of QEWB scores with
7 subscales from three instruments assessing constructs
related to identity commitment. To account for the use
of multiple sites for each sample, we estimated each of
these correlations as regression models, with site as an
additional predictor. In each analysis, the site that
provided the largest number of participants was used
as the reference group, and dummy-coded variables
were created for each of the other sites. This is the
preferred solution when there are not enough sites
(at least 15–20) to estimate a multilevel model
(Bengt Muthe
´n, Mplus workshop, August 21, 2007).
Correlations were estimated using the standardized
regression coefficients obtained from Mplus (Muthe
´n
& Muthe
´n, 2007).
Based on the correlations obtained from Samples 1
and 2, Hypothesis 1 appears to have been very strongly
supported. With respect to variables indicative of
identity commitments, significant positive correlations
ranging from 0.50 to 0.69 (p50.001) were found for
the EPSI—Stage 5, III—Subjective Syntonic and III—
Behavioral Syntonic scales, and the DIDS—
Commitment Making and DIDS—Identification with
Commitment scales. Significant negative correlations
ranging from 0.41 to 0.53 (p50.001) were found
for the III—Subjective Dystonic and III—Behavioral
Dystonic scales.
Hypothesis 2—The relationship of QEWB scores to
measures of subjective and psychological well-being
Table 3 contains the correlations of QEWB scores
with scores on measures of SWB and PWB. The
correlation of QEWB scores with those for SWB and
PWB (composite) were 0.47 and 0.63, respectively
(p50.001). With respect to the subscales of the Scales
for Psychological Well-Being, the strongest correlation
was with Self-Acceptance (0.56) whereas the lowest
Table 2. Correlations of QEWB scores with measures of identity commitment (Hypothesis
1—convergent validity).
Sample 1 (N¼1701) Sample 2 (N¼5096)
Identity commitment related variables rr
EPSI—Stage 5 0.69 0.65
III—Subjective Syntonic 0.53 0.51
III—Behavioral Syntonic 0.53 0.52
III—Subjective Dystonic 0.53 0.51
III—Behavioral Dystonic 0.52 0.41
DIDS—Commitment Making 0.54 0.50
DIDS—Identification with Commitment 0.58 0.51
Note: Correlations were estimated using standardized regression coefficients, controlling for site.
All correlations significant at p50.001.
The Journal of Positive Psychology 53
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correlation was obtained for Positive Relations with
Others (0.23).
Scale validation—discriminant validity
Hypothesis 3—The relationship of QEWB scores to
measures of identity exploration
The correlations of QEWB scores with the three mea-
sures of identity exploration are reported in Table 4.
As expected, the correlations of QEWB scores with
measures of identity exploration were significant but
substantially smaller than those with scales of identity
commitment. Modest positive correlations were
found for the measures of exploration in breadth and
exploration in depth. The strongest correlations with
the exploration measures were the negative correla-
tions with ruminative exploration, the type of identity
exploration that is most problematic.
Hypothesis 4—The relationship of QEWB scores
with measures of personality traits
Data pertaining to sensation-seeking were collected
from both Samples 1 and 2 whereas the Big Five
personality traits were assessed using the Mini-IPIP
only with Sample 2. The correlations for QEWB
scores with the various personality trait measures are
reported in Table 5. Again, as expected, the strength of
the correlations of QEWB scores with personality
traits was substantially smaller than those for the
QEWB with either measures of identity commitment
or SWB and PWB.
Scale validation—construct validity
Hypothesis 5—The relationship of QEWB scores
with measures of positive and negative psychological
functioning
Table 6 contains the correlations of QEWB scores with
the various measures of positive and negative psycho-
logical functioning. As predicted, for both Samples 1
and 2, scores for EWB were positively correlated with
self-esteem and an internal locus of control, and
negatively correlated with symptoms related to general
anxiety, social anxiety, and depression. Overall, those
reporting high levels of EWB are most likely to view
themselves positively, to feel in control of their lives,
and to report low levels of distress.
Scale validation—incremental validity
Hypothesis 6—Comparisons of the unique contribu-
tions measures of EWB, SWB, and PWB make in
explaining the variance in measures of identity
commitment and positive and negative psychological
functioning
The unique variability explained by a given predictor
variable, over and above the variance the predictor
variable array explains jointly, serves as an indicator of
the increased value associated with use of that measure
as well as providing information with respect to whether
that array is assessing essentially the same versus
distinguishable constructs. Table 7 presents the associa-
tions for the three measures of well-being (EWB,
SWB, and PWB) with scores on identity commitment
and positive and negative psychological functioning.
Table 4. Correlations of QEWB scores with measures of identity exploration (Hypothesis
3—divergent validity).
Sample 1(N¼1701) Sample 2(N¼5096)
Identity exploration related variables rR
DIDS—Exploration in Breadth 0.14 0.21
DIDS—Exploration in Depth 0.27 0.25
DIDS—Ruminative Exploration 0.41 0.36
Note: Correlations were estimated using standardized regression coefficients and controlling
for site.
All correlations significant at p50.001.
Table 3. Correlations of QEWB scores with measures of
subjective well-being and psychological well-being
(Hypothesis 2—convergent validity).
Sample 2 (N¼5096)
Well-being variables r
Satisfaction with Life Scale 0.47
Scales of Psychological Well-Being
Autonomy 0.40
Environmental Mastery 0.48
Personal Growth 0.50
Positive Relations with Others 0.23
Purpose in Life 0.43
Self-Acceptance 0.56
Composite 0.63
Note: Correlations were estimated using standardized regres-
sion coefficients.
All correlations significant at p50.001.
54 A.S. Waterman et al.
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Table 7. Correlations of eudaimonic well-being, subjective well-being, and psychological well-
being with measures of identity commitment and positive and negative psychological functioning
(sample 2, N¼5096).
Well-being variables
EWB SWB PWB
Identity Commitment Measures
EPSI—Stage 5 0.62 0.48 0.46
III—Subjective Syntonic 0.51 0.35 0.38
III—Behavioral Syntonic 0.53 0.44 0.35
III—Subjective Dystonic 0.51 0.53 0.42
III—Behavioral Dystonic 0.41 0.51 0.31
DIDS—Commitment Making 0.50 0.33 0.31
DIDS—Identification with Commitment 0.51 0.34 0.33
Positive Psychological Functioning
RSES—Self-Esteem 0.65 0.63 0.54
LOCS—Internal Locus of Control 0.40 0.20 0.18
Negative Psychological Functioning
BAI—General Anxiety 0.37 0.44 0.34
SIAS—Social Anxiety 0.44 0.49 0.32
CES-D—Depression 0.42 0.42 0.29
Note: Correlations were estimated using standardized regression coefficients.
All correlations significant at p50.001.
Table 5. Correlations of QEWB scores with measures of personality traits (Hypothesis 4—
divergent validity).
Sample 1 (N¼1701) Sample 2(N¼5096)
Personality trait variables rr
ASSS—Sensation-Seeking 0.01 0.05
Mini-IPIP—Big Five Personality Traits
Agreeableness N/A
a
0.28
Conscientiousness N/A 0.28
Extraversion N/A 0.20
Intellect/Imagination N/A 0.29
Neuroticism N/A 0.20
a
The Big-Five personality traits were assessed only in Sample 2.
Note: Correlations were estimated using standardized regression coefficients.
All correlations significant at p50.001.
Table 6. Correlations of QEWB scores with measures of positive and negative psychological
functioning (Hypothesis 5—construct validity).
Sample 1 (N¼1701) Sample 2 (N¼5096)
rr
Positive Psychological Functioning
RSES—Self-Esteem 0.63 0.65
LOCS—Internal Locus of Control 0.37 0.40
Negative Psychological Functioning
BAI—General Anxiety 0.35 0.37
SIAS—Social Anxiety 0.47 0.43
CES-D—Depression 0.35 0.32
Note: Correlations were estimated using standardized regression coefficients.
All correlations significant at p50.001.
The Journal of Positive Psychology 55
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The total variability explained by the measures of EWB,
SWB, and PWB jointly along with estimates of the
unique variability explained by each with respect to
the various outcome measures are presented in Table 8.
The estimates for the unique variability explained by
each well-being predictor were obtained through a set
of three hierarchical regression analyses conducted
for each outcome variable. In the first step of each
analysis, two of the three well-being measures were
entered, with the third well-being measure entered in the
second step. Each predictor measure was entered last
in one of those three regression analyses. The increase
in R
2
for the predictor entered in the second step
represents the unique variance explained by that
predictor. Hypothesis 6 was evaluated only with
Sample 2.
As previously noted, EWB correlated 0.47 with
SWB and 0.63 with PWB (composite). In addition
SWB correlated with PWB at r¼0.59 (all correlations
significant at 0.001). The pattern of results for the
zero-order correlations of the three measures of
well-being with identity commitment variables were
all in the moderate to strong range and were typically
somewhat stronger for EWB than for either SWB or
PWB. Similarly, the correlations for all three
well-being variables were all significant and positive
with respect to self-esteem and an internal locus of
control. The strength of the correlations were more
similar with respect to self-esteem than for locus of
control, where a stronger association was observed for
EWB. For the variables associated with negative
psychological functioning (general anxiety, social anx-
iety, and depression), the correlations with the
well-being variables were all negative and statistically
significant and were of generally comparable strength
for the three measures of well-being. At the level
of zero-order correlations, the three approaches for
defining well-being appear to be acting in parallel.
It was predicted that with respect to measures of
identity commitment, EWB would be found to make
the greatest unique contributions to the explained
variance. The findings support this prediction for
five of the seven measures of identity commitment
(EPSI—Stage 5, III—Subjective Syntonic, III—
Behavioral Syntonic, DIDS—Commitment Making,
and DIDS—Identification with Commitment). In each
of these instances, the measure of EWB uniquely
explained 9 and 13% of the variance, whereas the
measures of SWB and PWB uniquely explained no
more than 3% of variability. The two exceptions
to this pattern occurred for the measures of dystonic
identity functioning (III—Subjective Dystonic and
III—Behavioral Dystonic). For these outcome mea-
sures, SWB uniquely explained 4 and 8% of the
variability whereas EWB accounted uniquely for only
4 and 1%, respectively, of the explained variance.
No predictions were advanced with respect to
the relative levels of unique variability the various
well-being measures would explain for the measures
of positive and negative psychological functioning.
The findings indicated that for self-esteem and locus of
control, the two measures of positive psychological
functioning, EWB made the largest unique contribu-
tions, between 9 and 12%, whereas the levels of unique
variability explained by SWB and PWB were substan-
tially smaller. This parallels the findings with respect
to the five positive measures of identity commitment.
With respect to the measures of problem-related
variables (general anxiety, social anxiety, and depres-
sion), the findings were similar to those obtained for
Table 8. Unique variability explained by eudaimonic well-being, subjective well-being, and psychological
well-being (composite score) for measures of identity commitment and positive and negative psychological
functioning (Hypothesis 6—incremental validity) (sample 2, N¼5096).
Unique variance explained by
Total variance explained EWB SWB PWB
Identity Commitment Related Variables
EPSI—Stage 5 0.51 0.12 0.02 0.03
III—Subjective Syntonic 0.30 0.12 0.00 0.03
III—Behavioral Syntonic 0.30 0.09 0.01 0.00
III—Subjective Dystonic 0.35 0.04 0.04 0.01
III—Behavioral Dystonic 0.28 0.01 0.08 0.00
DIDS—Commitment Making 0.28 0.13 0.00 0.01
DIDS—Identification with Commitment 0.29 0.13 0.00 0.01
Positive Psychological Functioning
RSES—Self-Esteem 0.54 0.09 0.03 0.01
LOCS—Internal Locus of Control 0.18 0.12 0.01 0.00
Negative Psychological Functioning
BAI—General Anxiety 0.22 0.01 0.04 0.00
SIAS—Social Anxiety 0.26 0.02 0.05 0.00
CES-D—Depression 0.19 0.01 0.06 0.01
56 A.S. Waterman et al.
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dystonic identity functioning. The measure of SWB
explained the largest proportion of variance uniquely,
between 4 and 6%, with less variance uniquely
explained by either EWB or PWB.
Discussion
A principal purpose of the research reported here was
to evaluate the potential utility of the 21-item QEWB.
The psychometric properties identified for the QEWB
in two large, geographically and demographically
diverse samples of college students indicate an approx-
imately normal distribution of scores, with measures
of central tendency only slightly above the mid-point in
the observed range. Additionally, CFAs indicated that
items loaded on a single factor, and Cronbach’s alpha,
as an index of internal consistency, was high. This
suggests that items with content tapping various
aspects of eudaimonic functioning drawn from the
philosophy of eudaimonism fit together in the
hypothesized fashion. Taken together, the psychomet-
ric properties of the QEWB can be considered
acceptable.
Demographic comparisons were conducted on
QEWB scores with respect to gender, age, ethnicity,
family income, and family structure. With the possible
exception of age, eudaimonic identity theory does not
provide a basis for expecting differences across demo-
graphic groups. The demographic comparisons were
undertaken to explore whether or not these demo-
graphic variables play any substantial role in eudai-
monic functioning. For both samples, the very large
numbers of participants involved in the research
virtually assured obtaining statistically significant
outcomes. For Sample 1, significant effects were
observed for gender, age, and ethnicity, though in no
instance did the effect size exceed 3% of variability
explained. For Sample 2, significant effects were
observed for all five demographic variables, though
again the effect sizes were quite modest. The relatively
modest effect sizes for both samples warrant conclud-
ing that demographic variables do not play a substan-
tial role with respect to differences in eudaimonic
functioning.
Evaluations of the validity of the QEWB were
conducted with respect to convergent, discriminant,
construct, and incremental validity. In total, six
hypotheses were tested. With regard to convergent
validity, because the QEWB contains items directly
assessing the extent to which respondents have
established personally expressive identity elements, a
strong positive correlation was expected with
more general measures of identity commitment
(Hypothesis 1). Because the QEWB is purported to
measure a eudaimonic form of well-being, it was also
expected that scores for the instruments would be
strongly positively correlated with SWB and PWB
(Hypothesis 2). Results were consistent with both
hypotheses. The observed correlations for the two
hypotheses fell between 0.40 and 0.70. These correla-
tions, while substantial, are not of a magnitude to
suggest that EWB is reducible to the variables with
which it converges. For general measures of identity
commitment, high scores can be obtained when a
person has committed to identity choices not experi-
enced as personally expressive, thus limiting the
strength of the potential correlation with the QEWB
scores. With respect to the correlation with SWB, it is
clearly possible to derive subjective happiness from
sources other than engagement in personally expressive
activities. With respect to the correlation of EWB and
PWB, the two constructs are strongly related with the
highest correlations obtained for the subscales tapping
self-acceptance and personal growth. The weakest
association was found for the subscale measuring
positive relations with others. Individuals high on
EWB clearly are functioning more effectively, on
average, than those low on EWB, though it is also
apparent that high levels of PWB are not inevitably
associated with eudaimonic functioning.
Whereas strong associations of EWB with identity
commitment were expected, the correlations with
identity exploration were expected to be substantially
weaker (Hypothesis 3), thus providing evidence for
discriminant validity. Hypothesis 3 was supported with
respect to both exploration in breadth and exploration
in depth. The correlations with ruminative exploration
were negative and somewhat stronger than those for
the other forms of identity exploration, reflecting
the problematic nature of ruminative exploration.
Discriminant validity was also demonstrated through
the relatively modest correlations of QEWB scores
with measures of sensation seeking and the Big-Five
personality traits (Hypothesis 4). This is consistent
with the view that, although personality traits may play
a contributing role with respect to the nature of the
personal potentials through which self-realization may
be achieved, they are not a major factor in determining
whether eudaimonic possibilities are pursued.
Evaluation of the construct validity of the QEWB
was undertaken through initial steps in the creation
of a nomological net of variables associated with
EWB. It was anticipated that, similar to SWB and
PWB, EWB would be related to variables indicative
of positive and negative psychological functioning
(Hypothesis 5). This expectation was supported with
respect to positive correlations with self-esteem and an
internal locus of control, and negative correlations
with general anxiety, social anxiety, and depression.
Having established that EWB was moderately to
strongly correlated with measures of SWB and PWB,
and correlated with other variables in a pattern similar
to SWB and PWB, a second purpose of this research
The Journal of Positive Psychology 57
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was to address whether these three forms of well-being
should be considered as three ways of assessing the
same core construct or are empirically distinguishable.
The incremental validity of the QEWB was investi-
gated through analyses of the unique variability
explained by each of three forms of well-being in
outcome variables pertaining to identity commitment
and positive and negative psychological functioning.
It was predicted that EWB would make the largest
unique contribution for variables associated with
identity commitment (Hypothesis 6), given that it is
the form of well-being most clearly dependent upon
having identified activities in one’s life experienced as
personally expressive. No prediction was advanced
with respect to the relative unique contributions of
EWB, SWB, and PWB to explaining variance in
measures of positive and negative psychological
functioning.
A clear pattern of results emerged and was gener-
ally consistent with expectations. EWB was found to
make the greatest unique contribution to explaining
variance in five of the seven measures of identity
commitment, those reflecting success in identity for-
mation, and both aspects of positive psychological
functioning (self-esteem and an internal locus of
control). The other forms of well-being made minimal
unique contributions to explaining variability in these
indices. SWB was found to make the largest unique
contributions to explaining variance in the two mea-
sures reflecting unsuccessful identity formation and the
measures of general anxiety, social anxiety, and
depression. EWB made considerably smaller unique
contributions to explaining these variables. SWB
appears to be a prerequisite for avoiding negative
psychosocial functioning, whereas EWB appears to
contribute, over and above SWB, to positive psycho-
social functioning.
In sum, the pattern of results obtained here
provides substantial support for the incremental utility
of the QEWB. These findings suggest that EWB is of
particular relevance to the study of aspects of success-
ful functioning. In contrast, for the panel of outcome
variables investigated in the present study, SWB, or
rather its absence, appears to have its greatest explan-
atory value for the understanding of variables asso-
ciated with problematic functioning. It is notable that,
overall, the measure of PWB made the smallest unique
contribution to explaining variance in the panel of
variables analyzed here. Considering the broad range
of variables included within the nomological nets of
SWB and PWB in prior research, it is plausible that
these conceptions of well-being may make larger
unique contributions to explaining variance in other
types of variables not included in this study.
With respect to the question as to whether EWB,
SWB, and PWB constitute aspects of a single core
construct or are empirically distinguishable, the
findings obtained here suggest that they can be
distinguished and, more specifically, that they appear
to contribute differentially to the understanding of
successful and unsuccessful functioning. However,
it should also be recognized that, at the level of the
zero-order correlations, all three conceptions of
well-being were significantly related in parallel fashion
to the measures of identity commitment and to the
indices of positive and negative psychological func-
tioning. Further, the amount of variability that the
three forms of well-being explained jointly in these
outcome variables was, with one exception, greater
than the unique contribution made by any one of the
well-being constructs. (The single exception was for an
internal locus of control, where EWB accounted
uniquely for two-thirds of the total variability
explained.) The large proportions of shared variability
explained across outcome variables reflect the extent to
which the three forms of well-being are strongly
interrelated, despite the differences that we have
outlined here.
Limitations
Several limitations of the present study warrant
discussion. First, the two large samples of college
students studied here, while diverse with respect to
geographical location, gender, ethnicity, and family
background, were relatively narrow with respect to age
and educational level. It cannot be determined the
extent to which the findings obtained here would
replicate in a sample drawn from the general popula-
tion. Second, the data obtained were all from
self-report measures. It would be desirable to generate
a behavioral measure of eudaimonic functioning that
could be used to validate the QEWB and, in addition,
to investigate behavioral correlates of QEWB scores.
Third, the findings reported here are correlational
in nature, and conclusions regarding directions of
influence among the variables studied cannot be
established. EWB and the other forms of well-being
were generally treated here as predictor variables, but
it is plausible that what were employed here as
outcome variables may influence the levels of
well-being experienced. Indeed, the strongest possibil-
ity is that influences among the variables studied are
bidirectional.
These limitations not withstanding, the findings
reported here, taken together, suggest that the QEWB
is appropriate for the assessment of EWB. It offers the
prospect of assessing EWB from a perspective more
firmly grounded in eudaimonist philosophy than is
possible with currently available instruments. QEWB
scores can be used as an outcome variable when
studying those factors presumed to either facilitate or
hinder the development of eudaimonic functioning and
58 A.S. Waterman et al.
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as a predictor variable in studies of the correlates and
consequences of such functioning. Given the availabil-
ity of instruments for assessing EWB, SWB, and PWB
it is possible to conduct studies to better understand
their points of convergence and divergence.
If, as suggested by the findings obtained here,
EWB, SWB, and PWB are distinguishable conceptions
of well-being, in future research the implications of
each for quality in life can be studied through
comparisons of their presence in various combinations.
For example, SWB is considered a function of happi-
ness irrespective of its source. That is, it may result
from eudaimonic pursuits and/or from sources of
hedonia. The importance of the source of SWB can be
empirically investigated through evaluating differences
in functioning between groups who are similarly high
with respect to SWB but differ with respect to their
level of EWB. Similar comparisons can be made with
respect to the pairings of EWB with PWB, and SWB
with PWB.
Another line of investigation that can be explored
through the use of multiple measures of well-being
concerns the hedonic treadmill (Diener, Lucas, &
Scollon, 2006). It has been proposed that each person
has an overall set point for well-being and that
deviations from the set point occasioned by either
very positive or very negative events dissipate over
time. One implication of this hedonic treadmill is that
there is not much that individuals can do to change
their overall levels of happiness in any sustainable way.
Waterman (2007b) employed eudaimonic theory to
suggest that more stable changes in levels of well-being
could be achieved through efforts to promote
self-realization than through efforts to promote hap-
piness derived from other sources. The availability of
the QEWB, used in conjunction with other indices
of well-being, provides an opportunity to evaluate this
hypothesis through the comparison of various types of
intervention techniques. It is proposed here that those
interventions that simultaneously promote changes
in both EWB and SWB will yield more durable effects
than those promoting SWB but not EWB.
Still another important research direction is to
examine the associations of EWB to health outcomes
such as diet, exercise, substance use, sexual risk taking,
and driving while intoxicated. EWB is likely to entail
exploration of, and experimentation with, some
behaviors such as drug and alcohol use and sexual
activity. However, individuals characterized by high
levels of EWB may be less likely to progress to
problematic degrees of involvement in these behaviors
than individuals scoring lower with respect to EWB.
This is consistent with the potential for positive
psychological functioning to protect against problem-
atic outcomes (e.g., Schwartz, et al., in press;
Szapocznik, 2007).
There has been a lively debate in the field regarding
how well-being may best be conceptualized and studied
(Diener et al., 1998; Kashdan et al., 2008; Ryff &
Singer, 1998; Waterman, 2008). SWB has the longest
record of supportive empirical investigation, and PWB
also has a decades-long substantial research record.
The EWB construct is a relatively recent entrant into
this debate and is the most extensively grounded in
philosophical understandings of quality of life.
However, the extent of the research employing it is
still limited. The introduction of QEWB as a measure
for assessing EWB can potentially serve as a stimulus
for expanding this research record. The strength of
research conducted with any construct is dependent
upon the quality of the instrumentation available. The
findings reported here serve as an initial indicator that
the QEWB is an appropriate instrument for this task.
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... Although theorists and researchers generally agree with the concept and measurement of hedonic well-being, there is no consensus on the concept of eudaimonic well-being. The Psychological Well-being Scale (PWBS; Ryff & Keyes, 1995), the Mental Health Continuum Scale (MHC; Keyes, 2002), the Flourishing Scale (Diener et al., 2010), and the Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being (QEWB; Waterman et al., 2010) aim to determine eudaimonic wellbeing levels. However, each of these measurement tools has various limitations. ...
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Chapter
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Chapter
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To investigate the relationship between worry and life satisfaction, 160 college students were administered the Worry Domains Questionnaire (WDQ), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), and the Trait scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Individuals scoring higher on worry endorsed significantly less life satisfaction than those scoring lower on worry, even after controlling for anxiety. The Aimless Future and Financial domains of the WDQ accounted for the most variance in life satisfaction. The results are discussed and directions for future research are offered.
Book
I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.