Lay conceptions of well-being are multidimensional cognitive representations of the nature and experience of well-being and an important component of individuals’ worldview. Previous research indicates that these lay conceptions are composed of both hedonic (i.e., pleasure-focused) and eudaimonic (i.e., virtue- and meaning-focused) dimensions, and the degree to which one conceptualizes well-being in hedonic and eudaimonic terms has been found to be associated with multiple indicators of experienced well-being. Previous research is limited, however, in that it has often defined and operationalized experienced well-being using indicators of subjective well-being (SWB) and has not addressed associations between lay conceptions of well-being and psychological well-being (PWB). Additionally, previous research is further limited in that it has not considered more complex relationships between conceptions of well-being and general personality traits, specifically the Big Five, in predicting well-being. To address these limitations, this chapter presents research examining (1) whether hedonic and eudaimonic dimensions of individual conceptions of well-being predict both PWB and SWB and (2) whether individual conceptions of well- being predict unique variance in PWB and SWB beyond that predicted by the Big Five personality traits. Correlational analyses indicated more numerous and typically more robust associations between eudaimonic dimensions, compared to hedonic dimensions, and both PWB and SWB. Further, individual conceptions of well-being predicted unique variance in several dimensions of PWB and SWB when controlling for the Big Five, with eudaimonic dimensions being positively associated with well-being and hedonic dimensions being negatively associated with well-being. These findings thus complement a growing body of literature suggesting that eudaimonic approaches to well-being may be particularly important for positive psychological functioning.
Nova Science Publishers
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This research was funded in part by a 2011 Research Grant from the Center for Happiness Studies at Seoul National University to Ethan A. McMahan.
McMahan, E. A., Renken, M. D., Kehn, A., & Nitkova, M. (2013). Individual conceptions of well-being predict psychological and subjective well-being: Beyond the Big Five. In F. Sarracino (Ed.), The Happiness Compass: Theories, Actions, and Perspectives for Well-Being (pp. 3-16). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.