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Linking Peoples’ Pursuit of Eudaimonia and Hedonia with Characteristics of their Parents: Parenting Styles, Verbally Endorsed Values, and Role Modeling

Abstract

Research on eudaimonia (seeking to use and develop the best in oneself) and hedonia (seeking pleasure, enjoyment, comfort), two dominant ways of pursuing the good life, has previously focused on their well-being consequences and correlates. Little is known about their predictors. Two retrospective studies with undergraduates began investigating the links between the behavior of one’s parents when one was a child, and the degree to which one pursues eudaimonia and/or hedonia and derives well-being from these pursuits. Study 1 (n = 105) showed that participants engaged in eudaimonic pursuits if their parents had been high on responsiveness and/or demandingness, the two dimensions that define positive parenting. Hedonic pursuits did not relate to either parenting dimension. Study 2 (n = 110) showed that people engaged in eudaimonic pursuits if their parents had either verbally endorsed eudaimonia or actually role modeled it by pursuing eudaimonia themselves. However, people derived well-being from eudaimonic pursuits only if their parents had role modeled eudaimonia, not if their parents had merely verbally endorsed it. The same pattern was found for engaging in hedonic pursuits and deriving well-being from them. It was also found that parents who role modeled eudaimonia had children who grew up to derive well-being not only from eudaimonia but also from hedonia. Parents who role modeled hedonia had children who grew up to derive well-being only from hedonia and not from eudaimonia.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Note that eudaimonia and hedonia are clearly defined in this paper as ways of behaving, and thus as predictors of well-being, not as well-being outcomes. The importance of defining eudaimonia and hedonia in this way is detailed in Huta and Ryan (2010).

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Correspondence to Veronika Huta.

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Huta, V. Linking Peoples’ Pursuit of Eudaimonia and Hedonia with Characteristics of their Parents: Parenting Styles, Verbally Endorsed Values, and Role Modeling. J Happiness Stud 13, 47–61 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-011-9249-7

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Keywords

  • Eudaimonia
  • Hedonia
  • Well-being
  • Parenting
  • Role models