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Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 257–275 | Cite as

The Naturally Emerging Structure of Well-Being Among Young Adults: “Big Two” or Other Framework?

  • Carmel ProctorEmail author
  • Roger Tweed
  • Daniel Morris
Research Paper

Abstract

This study explored common measures of well-being to assess whether the naturally emerging relationships are best explained by a “Big Two” (hedonic vs. eudaimonic) or another, yet to be discovered framework. A sample of young adult participants (n = 355) completed measures of life satisfaction, flourishing, positive and negative experience, meaning in life, basic psychological needs, and subjective happiness. Goldberg’s (2006) Bass-Ackward procedure of component analysis was used to determine the relationship between the variables. Results indicated that life satisfaction and flourishing loaded on both hedonic and eudaimonic variables at several levels of the analysis, suggesting that these constructs may be outcomes of both hedonia and eudaimonia. Results further indicated that searching for meaning was distinct from hedonia, but was not an effective indicator of eudaimonic well-being. Overall, the results justify the distinction between hedonia and eudaimonia; however, they also suggest that further distinctions between different measures of well-being are required. Moreover, life satisfaction may be a superordinate category that reflects outcomes of both hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Thus, the “Big Three” of positive psychology (i.e., positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction) is neither purely hedonic, nor purely eudaimonic, nor a balanced combination of the two, and thus is deficient as an indicator of either type of well-being. Furthermore, the results suggests that further understanding the place of life satisfaction within hedonic and eudaimonic conceptualizations of happiness is important in enhancing our overall understanding of well-being.

Keywords

Eudaimonia Hedonia Life satisfaction Subjective well-being Psychological well-being 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PPRCSt. Peter PortUK
  2. 2.Kwantlen Polytechnic UniversitySurreyCanada
  3. 3.Vancouver Island UniversityNanaimoCanada

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