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In an earlier paper (Kashdan, Biswas-Diener, & King, 2008), we outlined a critique of the distinction being made between eudaimonic and hedonic forms of happiness. That paper seems to have had the desired effect in stimulating discourse on this important subject as evidenced by a number of responses from our colleagues. In this paper, we address these responses collectively. In particular, we outline common intellectual ground with the responding authors as well as points of difference.
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The Journal of Positive Psychology
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Two traditions of happiness research, not two distinct types of happiness
Robert Biswas-Diener
; Todd B. Kashdan
; Laura A. King
Centre for Applied Positive Psychology, Milwaukie, OR, USA
Department of Psychology, George Mason
University, Fairfax, VA, USA
Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA
Online Publication Date: 01 May 2009
To cite this Article Biswas-Diener, Robert, Kashdan, Todd B. and King, Laura A.(2009)'Two traditions of happiness research, not two
distinct types of happiness',The Journal of Positive Psychology,4:3,208 — 211
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/17439760902844400
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The Journal of Positive Psychology
Vol. 4, No. 3, May 2009, 208–211
Two traditions of happiness research, not two distinct types of happiness
Robert Biswas-Diener
, Todd B. Kashdan
and Laura A. King
Centre for Applied Positive Psychology, Milwaukie, OR, USA;
Department of Psychology, George Mason University,
Fairfax, VA, USA;
Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA
In an earlier paper (Kashdan, Biswas-Diener, & King, 2008), we outlined a critique of the distinction being made
between eudaimonic and hedonic forms of happiness. That paper seems to have had the desired effect in
stimulating discourse on this important subject as evidenced by a number of responses from our colleagues. In
this paper, we address these responses collectively. In particular, we outline common intellectual ground with the
responding authors as well as points of difference.
Keywords: happiness; meaning in life; subjective well-being, eudaimonia; self-determination theory
The surge of attention given to eudaimonia in the
scientific literature (e.g., Breines, Crocker, & Garcia,
2008; Ryan & Deci, 2001), textbooks (Compton, 2004;
Snyder & Lopez, 2007), and the mainstream media
(e.g., O: The Oprah Magazine , March 2008), motivated
us to carefully scrutinize what we know, what we don’t
know, and whether there are any costs to the wide
adoption of the idea of two types of happiness. We
believe that eudaimonia has entered the lexicon of
psychology with minimal scientific scrutiny and felt it
necessary to ask some basic questions about this topic.
We believe that the science of happiness will benefit
not only from our skepticism but also from the
intelligent commentaries to our paper. Indeed, we
would like to thank our colleagues who took the time
to present many insightful comments related to our
original article on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being
(Kashdan et al., 2008). We appreciate the willingness
of these authors to meet the bold spirit of our essay
with similar courage. Although we did not intend to
baffle or provoke, we believe that our article has been
effective in our fundamental aim of increasing critical
dialogue and introducing intellectual caution about the
topic of eudaimonic happiness. We do not want to lose
either this forward momentum or the clarity of this
dialogue by fault-finding each response in this issue.
Rather than responding to each individual point made
by Delle Fave and Bassi (2009), Keyes and Annas
(2009), Ryan and Huta (2009) and Waterman (2008),
here we address broad points of agreement and
Common ground
Well-being profiles
It might appear that we argue for a monolithic
approach to happiness (what Ryan and Huta, this
issue, refer to as the ‘Big One’). If this is how our
article, and our recent research on the topic (e.g.,
Kashdan & Steger, 2007; King & Hicks, 2007; King,
Hicks, Krull, & Del Gaiso, 2006), was interpreted then
we did an inadequate job of describing our position.
Our approach is exemplified best by the following
passage from our original article:
Our reading of the research literature suggests that
there is good evidence that eudaimonic and hedonic
aspects of well-being can operate in tandem ...
Focusing research attention on specific dimensions of
well-being allows for greater clarity in communication,
facilitates comparison ...and promotes flexibility in
the mixture of well-being variables used in research
(Kashdan et al., 2008, p. 228).
This position overlaps with the work by Richard
Ryan and Ed Deci (2000) on self-determination theory
(SDT) and those who continue to extend this model
(e.g. Sheldon, 2004). Their research shows that the
types of goals people pursue and the reasons they are
pursued act as a synergistic aspect of a person’s well-
being. Other research from SDT underscores how
autonomy supportive environments can facilitate well-
being. These researchers use a continuum of motiva-
tion and various psychological needs that, when
satisfied, provide the nutriments to feel good and
function at more optimal levels. They describe how the
degree to which these needs are satisfied is important,
*Corresponding author. Email:;
ISSN 1743–9760 print/ISSN 1743–9779 online
ß 2009 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/17439760902844400
Downloaded By: [Biswas-Diener, Robert] At: 20:39 15 May 2009
and the degree to which a person shows balance in
satisfying autonomy, competence, and belonging needs
are both important (two related but separable elements
of well-being; Sheldon & Niemiec, 2006). The SDT
approach is sensible in that researchers clarify how
some studies focus on subjective experiences (whether
affect or cognitive appraisals of life satisfaction) and
other studies focus on other levels of analysis including
strivings, psychological needs, and the environments
that best allow these needs to be met so that people can
perform at their best.
We also want to emphasize the valuable distinction
between symptoms and functioning made by Keyes
and Annas (2009). Researchers often measure symp-
toms in clinical trials as a proxy for functioning when
they are related but distinct (McKnight & Kashdan, in
press). We often forget the importance of behavior and
functioning and implicitly assume that by measuring
positive experiences we are measuring positive func-
tioning. Although they are positively correlated, as
Keyes, Shmotkin, and Ryff (2002) demonstrate, they
are related but independent. It would be unfortunate if
our interventions to improve people’s well-being only
focused on symptoms or how they feel about their
lives, and failed to address their functioning. To our
knowledge, the research by Keyes and colleagues is the
first time that measures of well-being were differen-
tiated according to this framework (symptoms vs.
functioning). This is exactly the type of conceptually
meaningful, precise strategy for distinguishing well-
being constructs that we feel has been lacking in
discussions of eudaimonia.
We would like to emphasize that, concerning these
and related approaches (Kashdan & Steger, 2007; King
et al., 2006; Sheldon & Tan, 2007), there need be no
intellectual exclusivity and there ought to be flexibility
in studying the inter-relationships among these philo-
sophical ‘camps.’ Compare this with the approach
being offered by Waterman (2008) who asserts that
there are qualitatively different types of happiness and
that certain elements are categorized separately from
others. This latter approach is guided by a priori beliefs
as the data are not yet available to support this idea.
Instead of referring to qualitatively different types of
happiness (those that are phenomenologically felt as
distinct from one another) we believe it is more precise
and flexible to provide conceptual frameworks for
addressing the question of why particular combina-
tions of elements (at various levels of analysis) will lead
to various outcomes. Taking context into considera-
tion, as do Delle Fave and Bassi (2009), and consider-
ing the intricate interplay of well-being variables at
various levels of analysis, as do Keyes and Annas
(2009) and Ryan and Huta (2009) provides the
foundation for examining how meaning making,
affective experience, and overall functioning relate to
one another.
Points of departure
What is eudaimonia?
In our original article, we suggest that the sheer
number of constructs and variables related to eudai-
monia serve to confuse, rather than clarify, this
interesting concept. What becomes clear from reading
the commentaries, particularly those by Waterman and
Keyes and Annas, is how poorly unified is the study of
eudaimonia. Although Keyes provides an explicit
definition of eudaimonia, the vast majority of people
studying this topic are not using his definition or
operationalization. In fact, of the four responses to our
article, no two presents the same definition of
eudaimonia. Only two of the commentaries address
the importance of context in studying happiness (Delle
Fave & Bassi, 2009; Ryan & Huta, 2009), only two
commentaries explicitly inform us that the work of
recent philosophers must be read to understand the
nature of eudaimonia (Keyes & Annas, 2009;
Waterman, 2008), only one of the commentaries
partitions certain positive affects as being part of
hedonics and other positive affects as part of eudai-
monics (Waterman, 2008), and of the three commen-
taries that address the operationalization of
eudaimonia, none of them use the same conceptual
framework or measurement strategy (Keyes & Annas,
2009; Ryan & Huta; Waterman, 2008).
It could be that the apparent disagreement about
eudaimonia stems from the philosophical ambiguity of
the concept. A variety of authors have interpreted
Aristotle’s original writings and, for scientific pur-
poses, clearly, there is not sufficient consensus to treat
this concept as a singular variable. Waterman (2008),
himself, points to areas of personal disagreement with
Aristotle and both Waterman and Keyes and Annas
discuss modern day ‘eudaemonist’ theorists; but
neither of them provides a guide to how we are to
evaluate the quality of the various interpretations.
Should we be faithful to Aristotle’s original writings?
What is it about the modern eudaemonist theories that
might better lend themselves to empirical study? On
what basis should we accept Waterman’s (2008)
revision to Aristotle?
Upon reading these commentaries, it becomes clear
that, to date, there remain serious problems in the
translation of eudaimonia from philosophy to psychol-
ogy. Certainly, the criticisms raised by Keyes can be
levied at almost every reference to Artistotle’s work on
eudaimonia in the psychology literature (e.g.,
Compton, 2004; Peterson, 2006; Ryan & Deci, 2001;
Ryan, Huta, & Deci, 2008; Snyder & Lopez, 2007;
Waterman, 1993, 2007; Waterman, Schwartz, & Conti,
2008). Moreover, we are still unclear as to how and
why flow, vitality, and interest are in the eudaimonia
‘bin’ and are divorced from other high energy, positive
emotional experiences and motivational states that are
The Journal of Positive Psychology 209
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in the hedonics ‘bin.’ The same ambiguity applies to
meaning in life, which is a cognitive appraisal that a
person makes about his or her life. Each of us is a
proponent of good theory and, despite four commen-
taries, none have provided a theoretical rationale for
these distinctions.
Further, the question of ultimate value of embrac-
ing this all-encompassing ambiguous construct remains
unanswered. We stand by our original argument
perfectly described by Ryan and Huta, ‘eudaimonic
sensibilities add an unnecessary layer of obscurity to
the theory.’ Considering the difficulty of communicat-
ing science to non-scientists, we don’t understand the
utility of adding additional terminology to ‘categorize’
self-determination theory as eudaimonia. Even Ryan
and Huta agree that it is the processes, functions,
values, and organization of elements within a person
that is important. What is gained by reducing this
complexity into a category that is distinct from useful
elements that help flesh out the theoretical model such
as emotions and cognitive appraisals about the self,
other people, and the world?
It is the notion of observing various combinations
of variables that we argue is needed. Subjective well-
being components (positive affect, negative affect,
judgments about life) are not separate from other
well-being components, they are in the same nomolo-
gical net and are even included in the same conceptual
models. For instance, Waterman suggests that there
are three categories of experience: occasions on which
both are present, occasions on which hedonia is present
but not eudaimonia, and occasions on which neither
are present. This is our point. Guided by a meaningful
conceptual framework, we should be examining path-
ways between matrices of variables, with an eye toward
relevant moderator variables (e.g., Deci & Ryan, 2000;
Lent, 2004).
Hedonic pleasure remains hedonic pleasure
We remain steadfast in our original assertion that
existing evidence does not support a conceptualization
of two qualitatively distinct forms of happiness.
Regardless of its source, it is still hedonic happiness.
Considering the conceptualization proposed by Telfer,
and described by Waterman (2008), we can see that
hedonic pleasure may have been a dead end road
for those interesting in eudaimonia to begin with.
According to Telfer (1990), hedonic pleasure sometimes
occurs in the absence of eudaimonia, but eudaimonia
never occurs in the absence of hedonic pleasure. This
conceptualization, of course, requires empirical support
addressing the question of whether engaging in eudai-
monic activities is always associated with feelings of
pleasure. Should such a conceptualization prove to be
supported by research, it certainly has important
ramifications for research on eudaimonia, suggesting,
at its base, that hedonic happiness does not differentiate
eudaimonia from non-eudaimonic activity. Hedonic
happiness, instead, is beside the point. If hedonic
pleasure does not distinguish eudaimonic activity from
other activities (except quantitatively) then why focus
on hedonic well-being in research on variables purport-
ing to represent eudaimonic tendencies? If hedonic
feelings of pleasure are simply a by-product of such
activities (Deci & Ryan, 2000), why focus on these
feelings in research on eudaimonia? And why label
those feelings qualitatively different from hedonic
feelings that emerge from other pleasurable activities?
It is surely no small irony that research intending to
demonstrate that happiness is not everything should
focus, nevertheless, on hedonic well-being as an out-
come. The quantitative characteristic of this hedonic
pleasure (e.g., its level, frequency, or intensity) would
seem to be the last place one might look to demonstrate
a qualitative difference between two types of human
experiences. Instead, researchers might examine vari-
ables that are, themselves, clearly empirically and con-
ceptually distinct from hedonic well-being, to examine
the non-affective consequences of the activities and
motivations that are thought to represent eudaimonia.
Hedonic pleasure reinforces many human behav-
iors, some of which have been labeled eudaimonic. But
these feelings would seem to be the least important
aspect of the Good Life, from the eudaimonist
perspective. We concur with Waterman in calling for a
more expansive list of outcomes that ought to be
considered as consequences that might be pursued as
they relate to the ‘why’ of happiness (but not happiness,
itself). Surely, these more distal variables would be the
place to pursue the notion that some activities or
motivations represent a nobler life than otherwise. To
call the hedonic feeling of pleasure that accompany (and
perhaps maintain) such behaviors qualitatively different
from the pleasure that derives from other less noble
activities is simply not tenable from the data to date.
As Waterman (2008) points out, ‘eudaimonic
research’ is relatively young and we believe this
scientific tradition should not be presented or accepted
as more established than it is. We are concerned about
the potential dangers of people misinterpreting a
distinction between hedonic and eudaimonic happiness
as meaning that there are two unrelated experiences of
happiness. In the end, we agree with Ryan and Deci
(2001) that there are two intellectual traditions of
happiness research, and that looking at happiness
antecedents and outcomes through a variety of lenses is
instructive and important.
The contributions of the first two authors to this manuscript
were equal. This work was supported by National Institute of
Mental Health grant MH-73937 to Todd B. Kashdan.
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... Traditionally, well-being has been approached from either the hedonic or the eudaimonic viewpoint [4,6], although debate about the validity of this distinction also exists [7,8].Hedonic well-being broadly refers to emotional well-being, including frequent positive emotions and infrequent negative emotions, as well as a sense of life satisfaction [4]. Student life satisfaction is commonly measured with the Students' Life Satisfaction Scale [9], which measures students' context-free estimation of their life satisfaction as a whole. ...
... 4,6,15], whereas others oppose this distinction [e.g. 7,8]. For instance, Longo et al. [16] studied the factor structure of Huppert and So's [17] 10 well-being indicators-happiness, emotional stability, vitality, resilience (aspects of "feeling good", or hedonia), competence, engagement, meaning, optimism, positive relationships and self-esteem (aspects of positive functioning, or eudaimonia)-in two different studies and found that instead of two distinct factors, the items loaded onto a single higher-order well-being factor. ...
Full-text available
The EPOCH Measure of Adolescent Well-being measures five positive indicators of the well-being of adolescents: engagement, perseverance, optimism, connectedness and happiness. This five-factor structure along with other indicators of validity and reliability were supported for the original English version and the Chinese version. In this study, we tested the psychometric properties of the Swedish version of the EPOCH with a sample ( n = 846) of Swedish high school adolescents aged 16–21 years ( M age = 18, SD = .85). The participants answered a questionnaire containing the EPOCH, Coping Self-Efficacy Scale, and 21-item Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21). A confirmatory factor analysis supported a the five-factor, inter-correlated model. The internal consistency was good for all the EPOCH subscales (Cronbach’s α = .76–.88, McDonald’s ω = .77 –.88). The criterion validity was established by replicating correlations between the five EPOCH subscales and positive (coping self-efficacy) and negative (DASS-21) aspects of well-being. This study shows that the Swedish version of the EPOCH is suitable for assessing multiple dimensions of adolescent well-being.
... Spanish version validated in Spanish populations(Garzón-Umerenkova, 2016;Pozo-Muñoz et al., 2016;Garzón- Umerenkova et al., 2017) of the Flourishing Scale(Biswas-Diener et al., 2009) was applied. This scale seeks to measure flow or flow state (flourishing) and contains eight items on a five-point Likert scale. ...
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... " Satisfaction refers to our judgment about the quality of our life, while happiness incorporates the experience of positive feeling or affect. While it is possible to identify wellbeing with one or the other, within hedonismrooted research wellbeing (commonly labelled subjective wellbeing-SWB) involves both an emotional component (good balance between positive and negative emotions) and a judgment component (satisfaction with life) (Biswas- Diener, Kashdan, & King, 2009). ...
The World Health Organization (WHO) has for decades highlighted that health is more than just the absence of disorder. Musicians’ wellbeing has received growing attention over the years, and the music sector seems increasingly engaged in its investigation and promotion. However, initiatives tend to focus on eliminating disorder, with performance anxiety and injury dominating the sector’s efforts. Aiming to understand and promote musicians’ wellbeing in line with the WHO’s proposal requires broadening our outlook beyond the stresses and strains of the profession and looking at positive indicators of human functioning. Positive Psychology is an innovative framework at the centre of the latest wellbeing research that can help musicians in this pursuit. It focuses on the conditions that lead individuals and communities to live to their fullest potential. This chapter provides an introduction to Positive Psychology and outlines some of its more prominent wellbeing models. We explore recent findings resulting from the application of this framework to the music sector and examine its promise as an innovative lens to shape wellbeing promotion strategies with musicians.
... This paper aims to explore whether matching efficiency and labour market tightness influence the life satisfaction of employed workers (Pissarides, 2000;Petrongolo and Pissarides, 2001;Kahneman and Sugden, 2005;Biswas-Diener et al., 2009;Synard and Gazzola, 2017). As far as we know, no evidence of this relationship has been documented LS, labour market tightness and matching before. ...
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... The eudaimonic approach focuses on meaning and self-realization and defines general well-being in terms of the degree to which a person is fully functioning. From a hedonistic perspective (Biswas-Diener, Kashdan and King 2009), the most widely used definition of SWB is that proposed by Diener et al. (1985) for overall SWL, which is often measured using the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). Diener et al. (1985) described SWL as an overall well-being construct based on a positive, cognitive evaluation of all aspects of a person's life. ...
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The antecedents and implications of shopping are relevant to impulsive and compulsive buying behaviour, because both tendencies can be harmful to an individual’s well-being, ill-being, and for society as regards overconsumption and sustainability. Most studies investigating either impulsive or compulsive buying have used different definitions and operationalisations of the two constructs. It is unclear whether impulsive buying and compulsive buying are both parts of shopping ill-being. This study defines and measures impulsive buying tendency (IBT) and compulsive buying tendency (CBT) in terms of distinctive core features: impulse versus urge or addiction. It compares their antecedents and consequences in one integrated empirical study, with self-esteem (SE) an antecedent, and satisfaction with life (SWL) a consequence of these two shopping tendencies. To our knowledge it is also the first study to investigate how harmony in life (HIL) is associated with the relationship between SE and IBT/CBT. A survey of 384 consumers indicates that online IBT and CBT differ from a bottom-up consumer well-being perspective. IBT contributes to life satisfaction, but CBT does not. Positive and negative SE have opposite effects on online IBT and CBT, confirming that both can act as self-regulation mechanisms. HIL moderates the relationship between SE and IBT/CBT.
During secondary school, students’ well-being is challenged in manifold ways and declines continuously. To address this issue, we designed and evaluated a six-day online art-of-living intervention to foster eighth and ninth graders’ ( N = 69) well-being. Art-of-living (AoL) is based on empirical evidence and conceptualizes strategies that lead to well-being. We tested the effectiveness of the AoL training and investigated the possible contribution of body-related AoL exercises to cognitive exercises by comparing two intervention groups (cognitive training vs. cognitive and body-focused training) and a waitlist control group. Levels of AoL and well-being at pretest, posttest, and two-week follow-up showed that both significantly increased in the intervention groups. No significant differences were found between the cognitive and combined training. We discuss methodological issues of the study and propose that the approach to enhance student well-being by using art-of-living exercises is fruitful for application in school and should be explored further.
This study examines the effect of affective organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and employee engagement on job happiness and employees' performance in a manufacturing company. The research sample is the employee with a minimum of two years of tenure at a manufacturing company. This research is quantitative research using the Structural Equation Model (SEM) method. Results show that job satisfaction, employee engagement, and affective organizational commitment play a vital role in improving employee happiness performance at working place. This study utilized a total of 275 questionnaires that were administered to respondents at a manufacturing company in Indonesia from May until July 2021. Research respondents were selected using the purposive sampling method. These findings may guide the implementation of human resources or other organization management in the manufacturing industry. For instance, they may use job happiness (mental well-being) to predict employee behaviors and then formulate recruitment policies that will help maintain employee happiness and satisfaction. This research aims to add information on human resources management science and positive managerial implications on employee happiness and performance in the Indonesian manufacturing sector.
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The degree of distinctness between eudaimonia and hedonia has often been studied by comparing subjective well-being and psychological well-being. It is argued here that the distinctness is best studied when both concepts are measured in parallel terms, e.g., both as momentary feelings, both as trait-level motives, etc. We classified measures of eudaimonia and hedonia into three categories identified by Huta and Waterman (2014)-orientations/ motives, behaviors, experiences/feelings-crossed with two hierarchical levels (Vallerand, 1997)-global/trait, situational/state. Within cells of this classification, degree of distinct-ness between theoretically eudaimonic and theoretically hedonic variables was examined using exploratory factor analytic methods and inter-correlations. Thirty-one measures of eudaimonia and hedonia were studied, across seven global studies and three situational studies, with each situational study addressing a different time span (the moment, one day, one week). It was found that eudaimonia and hedonia were clearly distinct as global or situational orientations/motives, global behaviors, and situational experiences for the momentary time span. Eudaimonia and hedonia showed little or subtle distinctness when measured as global experiences, or situational experiences for a one-week time span. When forcing one-factor solutions of global or situational experiences, positive affect accounted for the most variance in overall well-being; life satisfaction accounted for less variance, but was still a good proxy for overall well-being experience.
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Kashdan, Biswas-Diener, and King (2008) provide a wide-ranging critique of eudaimonic theory and research. In this paper, I question whether the timing of their analysis is appropriate given that work on eudaimonic constructs has begun only recently. In an effort to increase the clarity regarding points at issue, both conceptual and operational definitions of hedonia and eudaimonia as two conceptions of happiness are analyzed along with definitions of four conceptions of well-being (subjective, hedonic, psychological, and eudaimonic), and both hedonism and eudaimonism as ethical philosophies. Responses are provided to numerous points in the Kashdan et al. (2008) critique including their claims that work from a eudaimonic perspective (1) does not fully capture the philosophical roots of eudaimonia, (2) is overly abstract, (3) lacks clarity at the point of operationalization and measurement, (4) is overly complex thus preventing meaningful scientific inquiry, (5) provides evidence only for quantitative, not qualitative, differences, (6) is potentially elitist, and (7) misrepresents the moral standing of hedonia and eudaimonia. Evidence is presented in support of the view that hedonia and eudaimonia represent inter-related but reliably distinguishable and qualitatively distinct conceptions of happiness making independent contributions to an array of outcome variables. A set of recommendations is advanced as to how theory-building and empirical research can be strengthened in light of the multiple conceptualizations of happiness and well-being now current in the literature.
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In recent years, well-being researchers have distinguished between eudaimonic happiness (e.g., meaning and purpose; taking part in activities that allow for the actualization of one's skills, talents, and potential) and hedonic happiness (e.g., high frequencies of positive affect, low frequencies of negative affect, and evaluating life as satisfying). Unfortunately, this distinction (rooted in philosophy) does not necessarily translate well to science. Among the problems of drawing too sharp a line between ‘types of happiness’ is the fact that eudaimonia is not well-defined and lacks consistent measurement. Moreover, empirical evidence currently suggests that hedonic and eudaimonic well-being overlap conceptually, and may represent psychological mechanisms that operate together. In this article, we outline the problems and costs of distinguishing between two types of happiness, and provide detailed recommendations for a research program on well-being with greater scientific precision.The purpose of life is to be happy. The Dalai LamaYou will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. Albert CamusAnd they all lived happily ever after. The Brothers Grimm
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This paper is an invited response to Kashdan, Biswas-Diener, & King (2008) and to Waterman's (2008) commentary. Kashdan et al. assert that the distinction between hedonic and eudaimonic well-being is unwarranted philosophically and scientifically. We disagree, because a correct understanding of Aristotle refutes Kashdan et al.'s claims, and we refute three specific claims made about the definition, measurements, and overlap of kinds of subjective well-being. We re-analyze data from Keyes' (2005b) paper on mental health, and find that nearly half (48.5%) of the MIDUS national sample has high hedonic well-being. However, only 18% are flourishing, which requires a high level of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. The remaining 30.5% with high hedonic well-being but moderate eudaimonic well-being has nearly twice the rate of mental illness as flourishing individuals. Costs are incurred, we conclude, by science and citizens when we do not distinguish and achieve both kinds of well-being.
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Kashdan, Biswas-Diener and King (20086. Sen , A . 1999 . Development as freedom , New York : Knopf . View all references) debated with Waterman (20087. Waterman , AS . 2008 . Reconsidering happiness: A eudaimonist's perspective . Journal of Positive Psychology , 3 : 234 – 252 . [Taylor & Francis Online]View all references) the value of eudaimonic perspectives in well-being research. In this invited response we discuss problems associated with reducing the conceptualization of well-being to subjective well-being (SWB). Although we like and use SWB ourselves as an indicator of well-being, the value of eudaimonic thinking, both in the generation of hypotheses concerning how goals and lifestyles link with wellness, and in broadening and differentiating the outcomes considered to be reflective of wellness. We agree that eudaimonic research in psychology is young and varied, but suggest that preemptively constraining the field to a “big one” (SWB) conceptualization of wellness would be less generative.
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Aristotle's concept of eudaimonia and hedonic enjoyment constitute 2 philosophical conceptions of happiness. Two studies involving combined samples of undergraduate and graduate students (Study 1, n = 209; Study 2, n = 249) were undertaken to identify the convergent and divergent aspects of these constructs. As expected, there was a strong positive correlation between personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Analyses revealed significant differences between the 2 conceptions of happiness experienced in conjunction with activities for the variables of (1) opportunities for satisfaction, (2) strength of cognitive-affective components, (3) level of challenges, (4) level of skills, and (5) importance. It thus appears that the 2 conceptions of happiness are related but distinguishable and that personal expressiveness, but not hedonic enjoyment, is a signifier of success in the process of self-realization. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Positive psychology is a deliberate correction to the focus of psychology on problems. Positive psychology does not deny the difficulties that people may experience but does suggest that sole attention to disorder leads to an incomplete view of the human condition. Positive psychologists concern themselves with four major topics: (1) positive experiences like happiness, zest, and flow; (2) more enduring psychological traits like talents, interests, and strengths of character; (3) positive relationships between friends, family members, and colleagues; and (4) positive institutions like families, schools, and youth development programs. Positive psychology has productively examined the interactions among these areas of concern, and all come to bear in raising the next generation. In this article, the author discusses the historical context of positive psychology.
The significant contributions of Kashdan and Colleagues, and Waterman are acknowledged and some suggestions are brought forward. In particular, qualitative studies, and a cross-cultural perspective taking into account non-Western traditions are needed to disentangle happiness and related constructs. Moreover, the importance of contextualizing the eudaimonic construct of optimal experience within the framework of psychological selection is highlighted.
Exciting advances have been made in the study of psychological and subjective well-being. However, this literature has, curiously, had minimal impact on clinical/counseling practice or applied psychology, including counseling psychology--a subfield historically devoted to the concept of hygiology and the promotion of optimal human functioning. This article provides an overview and critique of various approaches to defining, conceptualizing, and studying well-being, including its correlates and presumed causes. Practical implications of the literature are considered. Provisional, integrative models of normative and restorative well-being are offered as vehicles for bridging the gap between basic research and practice. Suggestions are also offered for practice-friendly inquiry on well-being and for incorporating well-being as one ingredient of a multifaceted conception of mental health and positive adaptation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This study examined curiosity as a mechanism for achieving and maintaining high levels of well-being and meaning in life. Of primary interest was whether people high in trait curiosity derive greater well-being on days when they are more curious. We also tested whether trait and daily curiosity led to greater, sustainable well-being. Predictions were tested using trait measures and 21 daily diary reports from 97 college students. We found that on days when they are more curious, people high in trait curiosity reported more frequent growth-oriented behaviors, and greater presence of meaning, search for meaning, and life satisfaction. Greater trait curiosity and greater curiosity on a given day also predicted greater persistence of meaning in life from one day into the next. People with greater trait curiosity reported more frequent hedonistic events but they were associated with less pleasure compared to the experiences of people with less trait curiosity. The benefits of hedonistic events did not last beyond the day of their occurrence. As evidence of construct specificity, curiosity effects were not attributable to Big Five personality traits or daily positive or negative mood. Our results provide support for curiosity as an ingredient in the development of well-being and meaning in life. The pattern of findings casts doubt on some distinctions drawn between eudaimonia and hedonic well-being traditions.