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Revisiting the Empirical Distinction Between Hedonic and Eudaimonic Aspects of Well-Being Using Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling

Abstract

The distinction between hedonic (i.e., subjective well-being) and eudaimonic (i.e., psycho-social functioning) components of well-being is questioned by some researchers on the grounds that these two aspects of well-being are highly correlated. However, I argue that previous research has relied on confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), which is likely to overestimate interfactor correlations, because cross-loadings are constrained to be zero in CFA. In contrast, the new method of exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) does not constrain cross-ladings to zero, which results in more accurate factor intercorrelations. The present study used ESEM to reinvestigate the relationship between hedonic and eudaimonic aspects of well-being in a sample of 3986 American adults. The results showed that the ESEM model fitted the data better than the CFA model. As expected, interfactor correlations obtained with ESEM were substantially smaller than those obtained with CFA, indicating greater factor distinctiveness. These results suggest that hedonic and eudaimonic factors are correlated yet largely independent from each other. The results also suggest that ESEM is a more appropriate method than CFA in the study of multi-dimensional constructs, such as mental well-being.

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Correspondence to Mohsen Joshanloo.

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Joshanloo, M. Revisiting the Empirical Distinction Between Hedonic and Eudaimonic Aspects of Well-Being Using Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling. J Happiness Stud 17, 2023–2036 (2016) doi:10.1007/s10902-015-9683-z

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Keywords

  • Hedonic well-being
  • Eudaimonic well-being
  • Social well-being
  • Keyes’ model
  • Factor analysis
  • ESEM
  • MIDUS