Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 41–79 | Cite as

The Implications of Two Conceptions of Happiness (Hedonic Enjoyment and Eudaimonia) for the Understanding of Intrinsic Motivation

  • Alan S. WatermanEmail author
  • Seth J. Schwartz
  • Regina Conti


The distinction between hedonic enjoyment and eudaimonia was evaluated in three data sets involving use of the Personally Expressive Activities Questionnaire—Standard Form (PEAQ-S) with college student samples (n > 200 in each sample). Indices of these two conceptions of happiness were strongly and reliably related across the three samples. Differences between these two conceptions of happiness were evaluated in two ways. First, we examined and compared correlations of hedonic enjoyment and eudaimonia with variables related to intrinsic motivation. Zero-order correlations involving hedonic enjoyment were significantly stronger with respect to measures of self-determination and interest than were the corresponding correlations involving feelings of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia). In contrast, correlations involving eudaimonia were significantly stronger with measures of the balance of challenges and skills, self-realization values, effort, and importance than were the corresponding correlations with hedonic enjoyment. Second, we empirically distinguished between activities for which both hedonic enjoyment and eudaimonia are present (intrinsically motivated activities) and activities for which hedonic enjoyment alone is present (hedonically enjoyed activities). Intrinsically motivated activities were judged to be significantly higher with respect to measures of the balance of challenges and skills, self-realization values, effort, importance, interest, and flow experiences. No differences between the two categories of activities were found for self-determination and the frequency with which activities were performed. Given these distinguishable patterns in the two conceptions of happiness, a reconceptualization for the understanding of intrinsic motivation is proposed.


intrinsic motivation hedonic enjoyment eudaimonia self-determination self-realization effort. 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan S. Waterman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Seth J. Schwartz
    • 2
  • Regina Conti
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe College of New JerseyEwingUSA
  2. 2.University of Miami School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Colgate UniversityHamiltonUSA

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