Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 655–671 | Cite as

Evidence of Associations Between Lay Conceptions of Well-Being, Conception-Congruent Behavior, and Experienced Well-Being

  • Ethan A. McMahanEmail author
  • Kevin J. Dixon
  • Lindsey M. King
Research Paper


Individuals’ lay conceptions of well-being have been found to be associated with several indexes of positive psychological functioning, yet little is known about the mechanisms underlying these associations. In two studies, the current research examined whether conception-congruent behavior mediates associations between conceptions of well-being and two indexes of experienced well-being (subjective well-being and meaning in life). Study 1 addressed the above question using a prospective approach, whereby associations between conceptions of well-being, predicted engagement in hedonic and eudaimonic behavior, and predicted well-being were examined. Study 2 more directly addressed the above question using a daily diary approach, whereby conceptions of well-being, actual engagement in hedonic and eudaimonic behavior, and experienced well-being were assessed over a period of 1 week. In both studies, results indicated that associations between eudaimonic conception dimensions and experienced well-being were partially mediated by engagement in eudaimonic behavior. Hedonic conception dimensions were largely unrelated to hedonic behavior and well-being. The current findings thus suggest that eudaimonic behavior is one potential route through which eudaimonic conception dimensions exert their salubrious effects on well-being.


Lay conceptions Well-being Happiness Hedonics Eudaimonia 



This research was funded in part by a 2011 Research Grant from the Center for Happiness Studies at Seoul National University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ethan A. McMahan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kevin J. Dixon
    • 1
  • Lindsey M. King
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DivisionWestern Oregon UniversityMonmouthUSA

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