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ON HAPPINESS AND HUMAN

POTENTIALS
“A Review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being”

By: Richard Ryan & Edward Deci

From:
Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology,
University of Rochester, New York
CONCEPT OF “WELL-BEING”

• The state of being comfortable, healthy, or


happy.
• It is a complex construct that concerns
optimal experience and functioning.
• Influences our practices of government,
teaching, therapy, parenting, and preaching,
as all such endeavors aim to change humans
for the better, and thus require some vision of
what “the better” is.
TWO TRADITIONS IN THE STUDY
OF WELL-BEING
There are two relatively distinct
perspectives and paradigms for empirical
inquiry into well-being that revolve around
two distinct philosophies.
1. Hedonic Well-Being / View
2. Eudaimonic Well-Being / View
The two traditions are founded on
distinct views of human nature and of what
constitutes a good society.
HEDONIC VIEW

• Well-being consists of pleasure or happiness.


(Kahneman et al. 1999)
• According to Aristippus, a Greek philosopher,
the totality of hedonic moments is to
experience the maximum amount of pleasure
to achieve happiness.
HEDOISM ACCORDING TO
HEDOISTS

• HOBBES – Happiness lies in the successful


pursuit of human appetites.
• DeSade – pursuit of sensation and pleasure
is the ultimate goal of life.
• BENTHAM – a Utilitarian philosopher, said
that through an individual’s attempt to
maximize pleasure that the society is built.
SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING (SWB)
(Diener & Lucas 1999)
This assessment under Hedonic View has
3 components:
1. Life Satisfaction
2. Presence of Positive Mood
3. Absence of Negative Mood

Happiness is present if a person is


experiencing this three components.
THE EUDAIMONIC VIEW

• Aristotle said that true happiness is found in the


expression of virtue which is doing what is “worth
doing.”
• Fromm (1981), from an Aristotelian view, said that
optimal well-being is distinguished between:
1. Desire or needs that give momentary
pleasure
2. Needs that are conducive to human growth
• Ryff (1995), well-being is “the striving for perfection
that represents the realization of one’s true potential.
PERSONAL EXPRESSIVENESS (PE)
(Waterman 1993)

Personal Expressiveness states that


well-being can be achieved thru
activities that require challenge and
effort to achieve personal growth and
development.
PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING
(PWB)
Taps six distinct aspects of human
actualization namely:
1. Autonomy
2. Personal Growth
3. Self-acceptance
4. Life Purpose
5. Mastery
6. Positive relatedness
SELF-DETERMINATION THEORY (SDT)
(Ryan & Deci 2000)

Self-determination theory
embraced Eudaimonia to actualize
the self and known how to be
accomplished.
RESEARCH TOPICS IN THE
PSYCHOLOGY OF WELL-BEING
Researchers proved of Hedonic versus
Eudaimonic views thru different kinds of questions
and approach the answers by different routes and
they are as follow:

▫ Personality, Individual Differences, and Well-


Being
▫ Emotions and Well-Being
▫ Physical Health and Its Relations to Well-Being
PERSONALITY, INDIVIDUAL
DIFFERENCES, AND WELL-BEING

• DeNeve (1999) – Subjective well-being


(SWB) is stable across life span.
• DeNeve & Cooper (1998) – Extraversion
and agreeableness were consistently
positively associated with SWB and
neuroticism is consistently negatively
associated with it.
EMOTIONS AND WELL-BEING
Ryff & Singer (1998) reported moderate
correlations between their eudaimonic
assessment of well-being and subjective well-
being. They emphasize some dimensions
over others in relations- in particular, positive
relations were found to be particularly strongly
related to positive emotional experiences.
More generally, these researchers viewed
emotions as a catalyst to health states, and
they focused on the capacity of deep
emotional experience to mobilize anti-stress
and disease resistant functions.
PHYSICAL HEALTH AND ITS
RELATION TO WELL-BEING
Sickness is often associated with
displeasure or pain, so the presence of illness
might directly increase negative affect.
Further, illness often presents functional
limitations, which can detract from
opportunities for positive affect and life
satisfaction. According to Ryan & Frederick
(1997), subjective vitality is a positive and
phenomenological accessible state of having
energy available to the self, and used it as an
indicator of eudaimonic well-being.
RESEARCH TOPICS ON
ANTECEDENTS OF WELL-BEING
Researchers examined antecedent
conditions likely to facilitate well-being. They
reviewed some works and organized in terms of:

▫ Social and Wealth as Predictors of Well-Being


▫ Attachment, Relatedness and Well-Being
▫ Goal Pursuit and Well-Being: The Ups and
Downs of Trying
SOCIAL CLASS AND WEALTH AS
PREDICTORS OF WELL-BEING
Diener & Biswas-Diener states the
following:
• People in richer nations are happier than
people in a poorer nations.
• Increases in national wealth within
developed nations have not been
associated with increases in Subjective
well-being.
SOCIAL CLASS AND WEALTH AS
PREDICTORS OF WELL-BEING
• Within-nation differences in wealth show
only small positive correlations with
happiness.
• Increases in personal wealth do not typically
result in increased happiness.
• People who strongly desire wealth and
money are more unhappy than those who
do not.
• Avoiding poverty, living in a rich country and
focusing on goals other than material wealth
are associated with attaining happiness.
ATTACHMENT, RELATEDNESS AND
WELL-BEING
According to Simpson(1990), individuals
have a predominant working model that varies
in the degree to which it represents secure
versus insecure attachment to others. Many
studies have confirmed a relation between
attachment security and well-being broadly
construed, and some theorists have argued
that secure attachments themselves are an
indicator of well-being.
GOAL PURSUIT AND WELL-BEING:
THE UPS AND DOWNS OF TRYING
This part shows how autonomy and goal
pursuits vary in relation with hedonic and
eudaimonic views. Thus, shown in the
following points:
• Perceived Competence and Self-efficacy
▫ Argues that goals and goals progress,
together with competence and confidence
enhance well-being.
• Autonomy and Integration of Goals
▫ Explains that well-being will be more
enhanced thru autonomous goals that
heteronomous goals.
RESEARCH ON DIFFERENCES IN
WELL-BEING ACROSS TIME AND
PLACE
LIFESPAN PERSPECTIVES ON WELL-BEING
Diener & Lucas (2000) pointed out that
pleasant affect tends to decline with age, but life
satisfaction and negative affect do not change with
age. They said that many measures of positive
affect focus on aroused, excited states and this
focus may account for the observed decline,
whereas measures more focused on less activated
states might not indicate a decline.
RESEARCH ON DIFFERENCES IN
WELL-BEING ACROSS TIME AND
PLACE
CULTURAL INFLUENCES:UNIVERSALLY
VERSUS RELATIVISM AND WELL-BEING
Diener & Diener (1995) found that
across nations, self-esteem was associated
with well-being, but that relation was
stronger in countries characterized by
individualism. The strength of association of
Subjective well-being to satisfaction with
wealth, friends, and family also varied by