Can Passion be Polyamorous? The Impact of Having Multiple Passions on Subjective Well-Being and Momentary Emotions
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Having a harmonious passion (HP) can contribute to overall subjective well-being (Philippe et al. in Appl Psychol Health Well Being 1:3–22, 2009). We examined if people who had two passions in life reported even higher levels of well-being, and tested if these relationships depended on the extent to which the passions were harmonious or obsessive (OP). Undergraduates (N = 1,218) completed measures of HP and OP for their favorite and second favorite activities, along with assessments of well-being. In a follow-up study, a subsample of students (N = 62) who reported having an HP for one activity but an OP for another participated in an experiment in which we measured momentary emotions after priming either their HP, OP or a control activity. We found that students with at least one HP reported higher levels of well-being compared to those without an HP, and those with two HPs reported higher levels of well-being compared to those with only one HP, independent of the total time spent in passionate activities. In the follow-up study, participants’ levels of momentary positive and negative affect depended on whether their HP or OP was primed. These results suggest that, rather than introducing conflict or dividing a fixed sum of activity-related potential, having two HPs creates novel opportunities for subjective well-being.
KeywordsHarmonious passion Obsessive passion Psychological well-being Dualistic model of passion Happiness
This research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We thank Kelly Carpick for her help running the experimental sessions for the follow-up study.
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