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Feeling special, feeling happy: Authenticity mediates the relationship between sense of uniqueness and happiness

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Uniqueness is a fundamental aspect of individual identity, yet commonly used conceptualizations of uniqueness are based on the contrast between an individual and other people, an understanding that is not congruent with person-centred definitions from humanistic approaches. This study is based on the idea that uniqueness is concerned with the acceptance of one’s existence and uses Şimsek and Yalınçetin’s (Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 576–581, 2010) conceptualization, namely, a personal sense of uniqueness. Relying on both self- and observer reports, we examined the mediating role of authenticity in the relationship between a personal sense of uniqueness and happiness. This study also provides an extension of previous research by furthering the understanding of how dimensions of authenticity are linked to well-being. In line with our hypotheses, we found that a personal sense of uniqueness was positively related to authentic living and negatively related to self-alienation. Our results also showed a negative correlation between self-alienation and happiness and a positive correlation between authentic living and happiness. Self-alienation, a core dimension of authenticity, mediated the relationship between a personal sense of uniqueness and happiness.
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Feeling special, feeling happy: Authenticity mediates the relationship
between sense of uniqueness and happiness
Selda Koydemir
1
&Ömer Faruk Şimşek
2
&Tubanur Bayram Kuzgun
2
&Astrid Schütz
3
#Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract
Uniqueness is a fundamental aspect of individual identity, yet commonly used conceptualizations of uniqueness are based on the
contrast between an individual and other people, an understanding that is not congruent with person-centred definitions from
humanistic approaches. This study is based on the idea that uniqueness is concerned with the acceptance of ones existence and
uses Şimsek and Yalınçetins (Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 576581, 2010) conceptualization, namely, a personal
sense of uniqueness. Relyingon both self- and observer reports, we examined the mediating role of authenticity inthe relationship
between a personal sense of uniqueness and happiness. This study also provides an extension of previous research by furthering
the understanding of how dimensions of authenticity are linked to well-being. In line with our hypotheses, we found that a
personal sense of uniqueness was positively related to authentic living and negatively related to self-alienation. Our results also
showed a negative correlation between self-alienation and happiness and a positive correlation between authentic living and
happiness. Self-alienation, a core dimension of authenticity, mediated the relationship between a personal sense of uniqueness
and happiness.
Keywords Sense of uniqueness .Authenticity .Happiness .Well-being .Self-alienation .MTMM
An important characteristic of human beings is their sense that
they have a unique existence in the world. This sentiment can
also be considered a fundamental dimension of our identity given
that it makes us feel special as individuals. Thus, it is not surpris-
ing that in recent decades, an increasing number of researchers
have aimed to define and measure the feeling of uniqueness.
According to Rogers (1961), for example, for the client in
therapy acknowledging his or her self as unique is an impor-
tant factor in the process of developing a self-determined per-
sonality. In a similar vein, Maslow (1954) viewed the feeling
of being unique as part of self-actualization. Later, Baumeister
and Leary (1995) argued that although individuals need social
connections and interactions with significant others (i.e., the
need to belong), they also have a need to feel different from
others. However, there is still very limited empirical research
on the concept of uniqueness overall.
Early approaches (Brewer 1991;Elkind1967; Snyder and
Fromkin 1980) conceptualized uniqueness as falling on a
similarity-difference continuum. It has been pointed out that
these concepts of uniqueness have negative denotations and
implications (Lapsley and Rice 1988). For instance, in terms
of adolescent uniqueness (Elkind 1967) empirical studies have
consistently documented associations between adolescent
uniqueness and a variety of problems such as depression and
suicidal ideation (Aalsma et al. 2006; Greene et al. 2000).
Similarly, the Self-Attributed Need for Uniqueness Scale
(SANU; Lynn and Snyder 2002), which was developed after
the proposition of a modifiedconceptualization of the needfor
uniqueness, was not significantly correlated with well-being
(Law 2005). Research has also indicated that the need for
uniqueness could even be related to psychopathology
(Morrison and Bearden 2007; Tepper 1996).
More recently, a different idea of uniqueness was postulat-
ed as another concept called the personal sense of uniqueness
(Şimşek and Yalınçetin 2010). In line with the humanistic
*Selda Koydemir
selda.koydemir@unibamberg.de
1
Department Psychology, University of Bamberg, Markusplatz 3,
D-96045 Bamberg, Germany
2
Department of Psychology, Istanbul Arel University,
Türkoba, Turkey
3
Department of Psychology, University of Bamberg,
Bamberg, Germany
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-018-9865-z
Published online: 2 May 2018
Current Psychology (2020) 39:1589–1599
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... Conversely, feeling alienated from one's true self may be existentially threatening because it indicates that one is detached from something that makes one feel as though their life is special and significant. Consistent with these ideas, Koydemir et al. (2020) demonstrated that at the trait level, authentic living is positively associated with a personal sense of uniqueness (PSU), whereas self-alienation is negatively associated with PSU. However, Koydemir et al. (2020) reported that trait accepting external influence did not correlate with trait PSU. ...
... Consistent with these ideas, Koydemir et al. (2020) demonstrated that at the trait level, authentic living is positively associated with a personal sense of uniqueness (PSU), whereas self-alienation is negatively associated with PSU. However, Koydemir et al. (2020) reported that trait accepting external influence did not correlate with trait PSU. The authors reasoned that feeling a sense of existential uniqueness entails neither adhering to nor opposing other's expectations, but rather following one's own trajectory. ...
... Our results are congruent with various sources of theoretical and empirical evidence offering support for relationships between authenticity, especially the authentic living and self-alienation facets, and our primary outcomes of interest (e.g., Koydemir et al., 2020;Sheldon et al., 1997;Wood et al., 2008). They are also in keeping with the true-self-as-guide lay theory, which captures the widely held belief that following one's true self is a path to meaning and satisfaction (Rivera et al., 2019;Schlegel, Hicks, et al., 2013). ...
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Objective: The present study sought to examine: (1) how the components of authenticity (i.e., authentic living, self-alienation, accepting external influence) relate to one another at between- and within-person levels of analysis; (2) how the authenticity facets relate to meaning in life (i.e., purpose, comprehension, mattering) and life satisfaction at these levels of analysis; and (3) whether these relationships persist when controlling for affect and self-esteem. Method: Canadian undergraduates (N = 203) completed a trait questionnaire and end-of-day reports on these constructs for two weeks (n = 2335). Results: At between- and within-person levels, authentic living was negatively associated with self-alienation and accepting external influence, while the latter two facets were positively associated. Authentic living was positively related to well-being and predicted greater well-being the following day. Alternatively, self-alienation and accepting external influence were negatively related to well-being, and self-alienation predicted lower well-being the following day. Relationships involving authentic living and self-alienation were more robust than those involving accepting external influence. Conclusion: Extending research on authenticity beyond between-person relationships, our findings show that daily states of authenticity predict well-being in nuanced ways, depending on the facet of authenticity. This highlights the importance of distinguishing levels of analyses and facets of authenticity.
... In developing the proposed conceptual model, the authors drew on recent, relevant studies, including into PSU Koydemir et al., 2020;Şimşek & Yalınçetin, 2010), hedonic and eudaimonic happiness experiences (Ahn et al., 2019;Jung, 2017), and conspicuous (Roy Chaudhuri & Majumdar, 2006) and inconspicuous consumption (Eckhardt et al., 2015). Kumar et al. (2021) proposed that marketing-related research into the concept of happiness is interesting and useful, for several reasons, for example, to identify: how happiness affects consumers' behaviors, including consumption (seeking information, evaluations, and decision-making); the typical behaviors of a happy consumer (loyalty, WOM, re-purchase); how the happiness concept might be integrated into marketing strategies. ...
... This feeling of uniqueness is related to high self-esteem. Thus, it can be argued that this PSU relates to one's personal perceptions of oneself and is different from others Koydemir et al., 2020). Demir et al. (2013) argued that the higher one's feelings of PSU, the greater one's sensation of self-worth. ...
... Demir et al. (2013) argued that the higher one's feelings of PSU, the greater one's sensation of self-worth. However, PSU is unconditional self-esteem in that the individual feels unique, regardless of any other personal characteristics (Koydemir et al., 2020). Lyubomirsky et al. (2006) argued that PSU contributes to the individual's happiness, as self-love is one of the strongest indicators of happiness. ...
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The Personal sense of uniqueness (PSU) is positively associated with subjective well-being and has been recently shown its correlation with happiness, influencing consumer's experience behavior. However, the effects of hedonic and eudaimonic experience on conspicuous and inconspicuous (consumer's need for status and inner fulfillment) are unknown. The purpose of this research is to address a gap existing in the literature by testing the effects of PSU on hedonic and eudaimonic leisure experiences and how happiness leisure experiences effects conspicuous and inconspicuous consumption. The relationships hypothesized in the model are tested using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) and bootstrapping procedure. Data was gathered using a self-administrated survey, answered by 200 consumers based on consumers' leisure experiences. The findings of this study suggest that (i) PSU positively and significantly influence hedonic and eudaimonic happiness; (ii) the effect of PSU on eudaimonic happiness is higher than in hedonic happiness; (iii) eudaimonic happiness positively and significantly influence conspicuous and inconspicuous consumption; and (iv) hedonic happiness negatively and significantly influence conspicuous and inconspicuous consumption. This study helps fill a gap in the literature by introducing and testing the effect of hedonic and eudaimonic leisure experiences and the relationship between these constructs and PSU and (in) conspicuous consumption.
... This means that people in the context of significant relationships are aware of each other's levels of well-being and that, to some extent, informants' reports may replace the self-reports on wellbeing. For example, reports of family and friends as informants regarding subjective well-being have demonstrated temporal stability and consistency across different relational contexts (Koydemir et al., 2018;Sandvik et al., 1993;Schwartz et al., 2015;Zou et al., 2013). Saeki et al. (2014), however, found that among pairs of young Japanese friends, informants tended to transmit a more positive report than did the self-reports, as regards life satisfaction. ...
... Previous studies have found significant convergence between self-reports and informants' reports regarding subjective well-being (Koydemir et al., 2018;Schwartz et al., 2015;Zou et al., 2013). However, we did not find any studies that tested the convergence between self-reports and informants' reports regarding authenticity. ...
Article
In a community sample of 301 participants, association analyses between authenticity and psychological and subjective well-being show strong and moderate associations, respectively, with implications for humanistic theory and counselling. The results also show convergence between self-reports and informants’ reports on life satisfaction and authenticity, providing novel scientific contributions.
... Authenticity is a topic that has also attracted much new empirical interest in recent years (e.g. Borawski 2019; Koydemir et al. 2018;Ryan and Ryan 2019) and some research has demonstrated the relationship between authenticity and compassion for self and others. For example, Zhang et al. (2019) conducted five studies within different cultures showing that self-compassion is positively associated with authenticity. ...
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Self-compassion offers profound benefits to well-being and healthy psychological functioning. Surprisingly however, the relationship assumed between compassion for self and others has been questioned by recent research findings and is at best inconsistently correlated. The aim of this study is to throw further light on this debate by testing whether the association between self-compassion and compassion for others is moderated by authenticity amongst 530 participants who completed the Authenticity Scale, the Self-Compassion Scale, and the Compassion Scale. The results show that authenticity has a moderation effect on the association between self-compassion and the kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, and indifference subscales of the Compassion Scale. These results offer some initial insight into understanding the association between compassion for self and others and establish a case for researching the role of authenticity more thoroughly. The findings of this investigation call for further empirical attention to socially constructive aspects of authenticity and the development of new authenticity measurements that may better assess the interaction effect.
Chapter
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This study aims to find empirical evidence between personality elements (authenticity, sense of uniqueness, need for uniqueness) and individual’s preference of scarce products (PUI). A model was founded upon an extension of Snyder’s studies of uniqueness seeking behavior and psychological authenticity literature. Survey methodology was used and a questionnaire was developed using widely accepted authenticity (operationalized under three categories, namely authentic living, self-alienation and external influence), sense of uniqueness (SOU), and need for uniqueness (NFU) scales. A total of 257 valid questionnaires were obtained out of 298 fully-completed forms collected from young millennials in Turkey, one of the largest developing countries with a collectivist culture. The data was analyzed using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). The results indicate that only authentic living has a statistically significant effect on individuals’ SOU. This component of authenticity also has a significant effect on consumers’ desire for scarce and unique products through SOU. Significant but moderate level direct effects of SOU on PUI and NFU on PUI were observed in the analysis. Compared to the extant literature, this study adopts a more comprehensive interpretation of uniqueness, and incorporates authenticity as an antecedent to fill a research gap.
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