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The Eudaimonic and Hedonic Components of Happiness: Qualitative and Quantitative Findings

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Abstract

This paper illustrates a new project developed by a cross-country team of researchers, with the aim of studying the hedonic and eudaimonic components of happiness through a mixed method approach combining both qualitative and quantitative analyses. Data were collected from 666 participants in Australia, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and South Africa. A major aim of the study was to examine definitions and experiences of happiness using open-ended questions. Among the components of well-being traditionally associated with the eudaimonic approach, meaning in particular was explored in terms of constituents, relevance, and subjective experience. The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) was also administered to quantitatively assess the hedonic dimension of happiness. Results showed that happiness was primarily defined as a condition of psychological balance and harmony. Among the different life domains, family and social relations were prominently associated with happiness and meaningfulness. The quantitative analyses highlighted the relationship between happiness, meaningfulness, and satisfaction with life, as well as the different and complementary contributions of each component to well-being. At the theoretical and methodological levels, findings suggest the importance of jointly investigating happiness and its relationship with other dimensions of well-being, in order to detect differences and synergies among them.

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Notes

  1. Values in the range +2 to −2 are set by rule of thumb. The values of kurtosis are outside of the 95% confidence interval.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to José Luis Zaccagnini (University of Malaga, Spain) and Stefan Engeser (Technische Institut, Munich, Germany), for their essential contribution in data collection and for their active participation in the coding phase of this study. We thank Marta Bassi (University of Milano, Italy) for her precious collaboration in different phases of the research work. We also thank our collaborators who helped in the coding process: Petra Anic, David Brodrick, Heleen Coetzee, Rocco Coppa, Carla Fonte, Isabel Lima and Michael Temane.

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Correspondence to Antonella Delle Fave.

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Appendix

See Table 5.

Table 5 Correlations between domain happiness and meaningfulness

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Delle Fave, A., Brdar, I., Freire, T. et al. The Eudaimonic and Hedonic Components of Happiness: Qualitative and Quantitative Findings. Soc Indic Res 100, 185–207 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-010-9632-5

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