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Genes, Environments and Core Features of Eudaimonic Wellbeing

  • Espen RøysambEmail author
  • Ragnhild Bang Nes
Chapter
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)

Abstract

Human wellbeing is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. During the last two decades, an increasing number of genetically informative studies have documented substantial genetic influences for various types of wellbeing. Recent meta-analyses estimate the weighted average heritability of wellbeing to be in the range of 32–40 %. Importantly, these meta-studies also provide strong evidence of the causal role of environmental factors. Most twin- and family-studies of wellbeing have focused on subjective wellbeing in general and life satisfaction in particular and until recently few have examined the role of genetic factors in eudaimonic wellbeing. In addition to estimating the magnitude of the genetic and environmental effects, researchers have lately examined the extent to which different wellbeing phenomena share the same underlying genetic and environmental factors. The main aim of this chapter is to review some of these recent findings and to discuss implications for theory, practice and future research – including the potential of gene-environment matchmaking (i.e., positive interplay between environments and genes) for wellbeing interventions. Additionally, we address the current state of construct affairs. The field of eudaimonic wellbeing is in need of conceptual clarification, demarcation of borders and more stringent use of constructs. We question the notion of hedonia versus eudaimonia as the Big Two of wellbeing, and propose a model in which well-moving represents a core aspect of eudaimonic wellbeing.

Keywords

Happiness Wellbeing Eudaimonia Hedonia Heritability Gene-environment matchmaking 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway

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