Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1577–1598 | Cite as

The Transformational Processing of Peak and Nadir Experiences and their Relationship to Eudaimonic and Hedonic Well-being

  • Richard WhiteheadEmail author
  • Glen Bates
Research Paper


Transformational processing refers to the extent to which individuals openly explore, resolve, and personally grow from their life experiences so that these experiences become transformative. The present study explored whether the transformational processing of peak experiences (TPpeak) and of nadir experiences (TPnadir) related to eudaimonic well-being (psychological well-being) and hedonic well-being (subjective well-being). A sample of 116 respondents (76 women, 40 men) provided detailed descriptions of a peak and nadir experience, and how these experiences had changed their lives. As predicted, transformational processing of peak experiences and of nadir experiences was significantly related to eudaimonic and hedonic well-being, but only the transformational processing of nadirs significantly reduced negative affect. TPnadir and TPpeak did not differ in the strength of correlation with eudaimonic or hedonic well-being, and each made a unique contribution to eudaimonic well-being. However, only TPnadir made a unique contribution to hedonic well-being. Findings suggest that increased hedonic well-being requires a focus on working through the most difficult times in life, but for eudaimonic well-being, a focus on working through extremely negative and positive life experiences is beneficial.


Peak experiences Narrative identity Transformational processing Well-being 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swinburne University of TechnologyHawthornAustralia

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