Manual The Psychology of Quality of Life: Hedonic Well-Being, Life Satisfaction, and Eudaimonia

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  1. Hedonic Well-Being, Life Satisfaction, and Eudaimonia
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The results support the hypotheses as higher relative importance placed on extrinsic aspirations and so higher levels of materialism was negatively correlated with all six aspects of psychological wellbeing, with the strongest correlation being found for positive relations with others.

Although the correlations were weak in most areas, the general pattern of results are in line with many other studies that have found a consistently negative correlation between materialistic values and well-being 8 , 9 , 11 , 13 , The majority of previous studies have measured well-being through measures of life satisfaction and positive and negative affect and this study sought to understand which aspects of well-being were more or less impacted by materialistic values by using a multi-faceted measure of eudaimonic well-being The results clearly show the strongest relationship is between the relative centrality of extrinsic or intrinsic goals and positive relations with others, with higher value on extrinsic aspirations having a detrimental impact on relations with others.

This result supports the theory that materialistic values are opposed to collective values This could be because someone who spends more time focussing on the pursuit of wealth, status and image has less time to spend on nurturing relationships or conversely, it could be that someone who has less nurturing relationships seeks to find security in material comforts and seeks to build their self esteem through status 3 , The results from this study support self-determination theory but suggest that materialism has a much stronger relationship with positive relations with others than with autonomy or competence.

It was also clear that there was a much stronger negative relationship between aspirations for financial success and status and positive relations with others and aspirations than there was for image. It is not possible to infer causation from this study and so further research into why aspirations for financial success and status equate to poorer relations with other people would be useful. It could be that placing more importance on wealth and status aspirations give less time and attention to their relationships, or it could be that people who have poorer quality relationships seek to make themselves more attractive to others through their wealth and status.

The fact that positive relations with others showed up as the most strongly negatively correlated aspect of psychological well-being with higher materialistic values is interesting as positive relationships are such a central component of many theories of well-being 28 , 29 , Research has also shown that placing importance on other people is valuable for our own well-being, for example, studies have demonstrated that showing kindness and compassion to others brings benefits to our own well-being, health and longevity 32 and that spending money on others is more beneficial for our emotional health than spending it on ourselves Other research has demonstrated that the relationship is bi-directional as it was found that people were more likely to engage in helping behaviours if they were experiencing positive emotions themselves 34 and that when we experience more positive emotions, we are likely to feel more close social connections to others and even show less racial bias All these strands of research demonstrate how important our relationships with others are for our psychological well-being and so a negative relationship between materialism and positive relations with others could explain why materialism is consistently correlated negatively with so many aspects of well-being 6.

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Ryff and Singer 26 also describe positive relations with others as being one of the primary features of human health, along with purpose in life, due to their pervasiveness across ethical, philosophical and social science formulations of health. They suggest it is an individuals sense of purpose and deep connections to others that build and maintain self acceptance, autonomy, mastery and personal growth which then serve to enhance the primary features of purpose and positive relations with others The results of this study would therefore suggest that simply having aspirations for the future is positively related to one of the primary facets of positive psychological health purpose but in order to meet the other primary feature positive relations with others , it is better to ensure that those goals are intrinsic in nature.

Once again causation cannot be inferred, as it cannot be seen whether people who have more aspirations in life feel more purpose in life or whether people have more purpose are more likely to adopt stronger aspirations in life. Another caveat to this research is also that the Aspiration Index 13 classifies certain goals as intrinsic and certain goals as extrinsic, but self determination theory states that types of goals are not necessarily inherently extrinsic or intrinsic in themselves but rather the reason for pursuing them is what makes them intrinsically or extrinsically motivated There are a number of other limitations to the research.

Firstly it is based on self-reported aspirations and levels of well-being and so could be prone to respondents responding in a socially desirable way. A further limitation is that a relatively small sample was used from within the UK only and so the results are not cross culturally generalizable. This research adds further weight to the association between materialistic values and lower psychological well-being but a logical next question to come out of the research is why some people place more value on goals for wealth, status and image than on intrinsic goals like the quality of their relationships.

Kasser 3 offers two possible explanations to this question, one based on psychological needs in that when our needs for security, autonomy, competence and positive relations are not met, we seek comfort in material goods as a method of trying to meet these needs. His second explanation is that the current dominant economic system of American Corporate Capitalism ACC encourages and promotes a set of values that are grounded in self interest, a desire for financial success, high levels of consumption and a competitive interpersonal style and so it is not surprising that many people adopt these values 7.

Hedonic Well-Being, Life Satisfaction, and Eudaimonia

Considering the wealth of evidence demonstrating the negative relationship between these values and well-being, further inter-disciplinary research into alternative economic models that could promote values more conducive to well-being could be of great value. Marks 36 suggests that Positive Psychology can have a greater social impact if the field connects with other disciplines such as economics and sociology and if the dominant values being promoted in society are being shown to be detrimental to well-being, perhaps this is an area ripe for inter-disciplinary research.

A key criticism of Positive Psychology as a discipline is that there is too much emphasis on an individuals influence on their own well-being whilst ignoring wider political, economic and cultural factors that can significantly impact on an individuals well-being 37 , The strong consumerist messages inherent within a capitalist economic system striving for constant economic growth will clearly have an impact on the values adopted by individuals living in such a system and so research into the links between materialism and well-being must take the macro systems into account.

The lifestyles and levels of consumption of the richest countries are causing wide scale environmental degradation, which has the greatest impact on poorer nations and so there are far reaching wider implications of demonstrating the negative relationship between well-being and over consumption in terms of environmental sustainability Further research into why individuals adopt more materialistic aspirations and how they can be supported to adopt more intrinsic aspirations could be useful to help influence economic and environmental policy as well as to support individuals enhance their own well-being.

This research has demonstrated that the negative relationship between materialistic aspirations and well-being does seem to extend beyond subjective well-being and into the realm of eudaimonic well-being. It has also shown that there is a particularly strong relationship between materialistic values and poorer relationships with other people. This is perhaps one reason why research has found materialistic values to be negatively related to a multitude of well-being indicators 8. Reviewer guidelines Register Reviewer Benefits Resources. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Mental Health.

Current Issue. Volume No: 1 Issue No: 1. Abstract The purpose of this research is to gain a deeper understanding of how materialistic aspirations are related to distinct aspects of psychological well-being.

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Journal of Behavior Therapy and Mental Health - 1 1 DOI What is Wellbeing? What is Materialism? Why are Materialism and Well-being Negatively Correlated? Statement of Research Problem This research is interested in the relationship between materialistic values and the distinct aspects of psychological well-being when well-being is defined in eudaimonic terms. Method Design A quantitative correlational design was used where a survey combining the Aspiration Index 13 and the Psychological Well-being scale 16 were sent out to participants using the qualtrics survey platform.

Participants A convenience sample of participants was recruited through facebook and by email. Procedure A brief email see appendix C for a copy of the email sent describing the purpose of the research was sent out with a link to an online survey using the qualtrics survey platform with a participant information sheet see appendix D for a copy of the participant information sheet attached telling them more about the research and providing contact details of the researcher. Measures Materialism The 42 item Aspiration index 13 was used to assess materialism see appendix F for the full Aspiration Index questionnaire.

Table 1. Psychological Wellbeing Scale The scale of Psychological Wellbeing see appendix G for the full 18 item scale of Psychological well-being contains a range of statements about the six areas of psychological wellbeing: autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life and self acceptance Data Analysis To ensure that the distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic aspirations was supported within the Aspiration Index, a higher order factor analysis was conducted for the seven aspiration subscale scores.

Results Table 2 below reports the correlations between the intrinsic and extrinsic scores and each facet of psychological well-being. Table 2. Discussion This purpose of this study was to gain insight into the relationship between the relative importance placed on extrinsic materialistic , aspirations for money, status and image and the six distinct components of psychological well-being self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, personal growth, environmental mastery and purpose.

Limitations of the Research Another caveat to this research is also that the Aspiration Index 13 classifies certain goals as intrinsic and certain goals as extrinsic, but self determination theory states that types of goals are not necessarily inherently extrinsic or intrinsic in themselves but rather the reason for pursuing them is what makes them intrinsically or extrinsically motivated Directions for Future Research This research adds further weight to the association between materialistic values and lower psychological well-being but a logical next question to come out of the research is why some people place more value on goals for wealth, status and image than on intrinsic goals like the quality of their relationships.

Conclusion This research has demonstrated that the negative relationship between materialistic aspirations and well-being does seem to extend beyond subjective well-being and into the realm of eudaimonic well-being. References 1. Huta V, R M. Kasser T. R A Easterlin. Some empirical evidence. Nations and Households in Economic Growth 89, The PHI showed a consistent pattern of correlations with the scales included in this study that covered different aspects of well-being. The exception was the PANAS negative, which showed a consistent pattern of negative correlations as expected.

We expected a unifactorial model to fit our scale well excluding the experienced well-being component. This expectation is based on previous research showing that when hedonic, eudaimonic, and social well-being are evaluated together with different scales, a model with a single higher-order factor i. Furthermore, this model does not differ much from one with three different higher-order factors i. Since we implemented a reduced set of 11 items to measure all components of well-being, it is reasonable to expect that only one factor will emerge i.

Moreover, other brief scales tapping into different components of well-being have been unifactorial [ 37 ]. Consequently, for each country, a principal components analysis was conducted. The only exception was the Indian sample in which we found a second factor that included only the inverse item i. Percent variance explained for each sample i.

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  • Using a more reliable method, the Velicer test, we found that a one-factor solution was also recommended for all countries. To evaluate the incremental validity of the PHI for the whole sample compared to other widely used well-being scales, we conducted a series of separate regression analyses, employing sleep quality and perceived health as criteria because they are often considered adequate proxies of well-being [ 20 , 57 ]. The PHI is based on the conceptual integration of current approaches to defining and measuring well-being. Our results suggest that the PHI is a consistent and valid instrument to provide an index of well-being.

    The PHI has some noteworthy advantages relative to previous composite indices of well-being. From a conceptual point of view, this is the first instrument that attempts to cover the main domains of well-being described in current theories and research in the area. The PHI was designed taking into account prevailing controversies on the eudaimonic versus hedonic distinction and the remembered versus experienced approach.

    All these aspects of well-being are relevant, and integrative measures should be aware of the complexity of the well-being construct [ 18 , 31 ]. Compared with other recently published brief well-being instruments, the PHI indeed encompasses a more thorough sense of the construct. For example, the MHC-SF [ 36 ] measures hedonic, eudaimonic, and social well-being but does not include experienced well-being. Also, the WEMWBS [ 37 ], in both its 7-item and item versions, comprises positively phrased statements covering both hedonic and eudaimonic aspects of well-being, including positive affect, satisfying interpersonal relationships, and positive functioning.

    However, it does not include a specific item covering life satisfaction and does not cover experienced well-being or social well-being. The FS is an eight-item scale that aims to provide a single index covering aspects of social capital, flow, social relationships, and a general sense of psychological prosperity i. The authors who developed the FS used several well-known, validated instruments like the ones used in our study i.

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    Yet, the scale was initially validated using only samples of university students. Unlike other scales, the PHI includes a experience well-being section. Our data support that remembered and experienced well-being are related but different constructs. It is important to note that the experienced well-being section can be included or not in the index depending on the needs of the researcher and the characteristics of the sample. For example, in very small samples as well as for individual assessments, data from specific experiences that happened the day before, which is measured in the experienced well-being section, could be biased due to non-representative events e.

    On the contrary, larger samples make these random effects irrelevant as positive and negative non-representative events tend to equally happen compensating this potential source of bias. In sum, our index includes two separate scales assessing remembered and experienced well-being. Although these two subscales can be used separately, we suggest using them jointly especially when assessing the well-being of a community or a large sample. Moreover, beyond these conceptual aspects, the PHI has distinctive methodological features.

    All the items included in the scale were empirically selected after being contrasted with widely used measures of each well-being domain. The study sample was also larger and more culturally diverse than in previous initial validation studies of similar brief scales. Most notably, no other brief scale allows the use of each of its items as indices of different well-being domains. In designing and validating the PHI, we aimed for it to provide both a composite measure and individual measures of the different facets of well-being. As such, the PHI can be a valuable diagnostic tool when its items are used as individual and independent indicators.

    Although using a single-item scale implies diminished psychometric properties, it has been noted that this allows for an efficient assessment when needed [ 58 ]. Moreover, our data showed that the capacity to detect differences among countries was equal or even slightly better when measured by our single-item subscales compared with other larger scales. This strength could be due, at least in part, to the use of an point Likert scale. Although there is no consensus on the effect of an increase in the number of categories of a scale, it may foster variability.

    While some authors defend the idea of using no more than 7 categories [ 59 ], others favor the idea of using more categories [ 60 ].

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    In their meta-analysis, Saris and Gallhofer [ 61 ] conclude that using an point scale does not harm the reliability and validity of an instrument. According to this meta-analysis, it is more relevant to use a scale with a middle point and with clear, short labels for the two extremes. Both requirements are fulfilled in our scale.

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    • Moreover, an empirical study examining the role of different response options in the context of assessing subjective quality of life concluded that using a point scale yielded better outcomes [ 62 ]. Finally, contrary to previous scales, we developed and validated the PHI for seven languages and nine countries, which increases its cross-cultural value. Although some versions may be refined in the future, this initial validation tentatively allows the use of the PHI in different countries and cultures.

      And, more relevant for cross-cultural research, the items included in the scale were chosen so that they maximize the convergent validity for the whole set of countries. Our data support the fact that the PHI presents good psychometric properties. Given the nature of the measure, it is not surprising that the PHI positively correlates with validated measures of life satisfaction, positive affect, and eudaimonic well-being, and negatively correlates with negative affect.

      This correlation pattern suggests that the PHI reliably measures different aspects of well-being. The internal consistency of the PHI was very good for all language versions and inter-item correlations were consistently high. Some authors have warned against high homogeneity as it may indicate that several items have been paraphrased [ 63 ]; however, this is not our case. Instead, each of the items assesses a totally different dimension of well-being. Thus, the high homogeneity within the PHI may suggest the existence of a single construct.

      In fact, our principal components analysis indicates that the PHI has a single structure even as it integrates a complex conception of well-being involving its different aspects. Future research should confirm the factor structure in another sample i.

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      We also acknowledge some limitations of this initial study. First, it would have been ideal to start with a larger pool of initial items. Due to the difficulties and costs of working with seven versions of the scale, we tried to select the best items before starting the translation and validation processes. Second, our study was conducted online.

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      Although research has found that web-based surveys provide results as valid as those gathered with more traditional methods [ 65 ], we cannot completely rule out the existence of biases affecting web-based surveys that may not have yet been discovered. Nevertheless, our pattern of results is robust in terms of internal consistency and validation indices of the PHI , which counters this possibility. Third, it is possible that some shared common variance is due to the assessment method. Finally, despite the effort to include a wide range of countries and languages, we were not able to incorporate other important languages e.

      Furthermore, although the sample composition was larger and more heterogeneous than the samples used to validate similar instruments, the data in this study should not be considered representative of each country. Even so, the cross-national consistency of the results and the good psychometric properties of the PHI in all languages and participating nations are still noteworthy. We are aware that the use of a self-report retrospective approach, such as the one used in the PHI and the Gallup study [ 66 ], does not completely preclude memory and judgmental biases when assessing experienced well-being.

      A better measurement option would involve costly procedures, as in the original DRM [ 29 ], or a sophisticated experience sampling method [ 6 , 67 ]. Yet, an alternative and simpler measure of experienced well-being, such as the one used in our study, has shown to provide information different from typical remembered well-being measures [ 68 ]. If so, the PHI could be used as a valid instrument to monitor changes in well-being. It will also be relevant to determine how these new indices are associated with non-self-report assessments of the same concepts by obtaining reports from informants or recording actual behaviors for example see [ 31 ].

      The PHI can be considered a broad measure of well-being. There is some debate about the use of broad or narrow psychological dimensions to predict specific behaviors. Some authors have argued that broader measures are better predictors because they have greater reliability than narrower measures, and the variance in outcomes associated with broad factors generalizes across situations [ 69 , 70 ]. On the contrary, others support the idea that specific traits or psychological dimensions more efficiently predict specific behaviors or outcomes [ 71 ]. Although our results show that the PHI is associated with specific conditions e.

      There is no doubt that other indices can and will be developed; the utility of these new measures ultimately depends upon their ability to reliably and efficiently identify and predict differences across individuals or populations. To summarize, our aim was to develop and validate a new and comprehensive measure of well-being in different languages and cultures.

      We hope that this new instrument will contribute to advancement in the complex task of measuring well-being. Note that in some contexts, psychological well-being is used to name one of the modern eudaimonic theories formulated by Ryff [ 10 ]. Low response rate in combination with low Internet penetration i. However, this is not a serious limitation in our case for several reasons: a The panel selected individuals until achieving a sample representative of the country in terms of sex, age, and location; b Representativeness is an important issue to reliably assess the well-being of a nation but is not crucial at all for validating a new measure; c The final sample for each country is much more diverse than opportunistic samples e.

      Using the following scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being total disagreement and 10 being total agreement, please rate the extent to which you agree with the following statements. Items 1—2: general well-being; items 3—8: eudaimonic well-being; items 9— hedonic well-being; item social well-being. Items 1, 3, 5, 7, and 8 are positive experiences; items 2, 4, 6, 9, and 10 are negative experiences.

      These ten items can be converted into a single score from 0 zero positive experiences and 5 negative experiences to 10 five positive experiences and no negative experiences. See Methods section for further details. Diener E: Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. Am Psychol , 34— Fava GA: Well-being therapy: Conceptual and technical issues.

      Psychother Psychosom , — Am Psychol , — Eid M: Measuring the immeasurable: Psychometric modeling of subjective well-being data. In The science of subjective well-being. Edited by: Eid M, Larsen R. New York: Guilford; — Schimmack U: Affect measurement in experience sampling research. J Happiness Stud , 4: 79— Diener E: Guidelines for national indicators of subjective well-being and ill-being.

      The Psychology of Quality of Life

      Social Indicators Network News , 4—6. Psychol Bull , — Annu Rev Psychol , — J Pers Soc Psychol , — Seligman MEP: Authentic happiness. New York: Free Press; To establish to the importance of the topic the psychology of quality of life , this part also covers much of the literature on the positive benefits of hedonic well- being, life satisfaction, and eudaimonia on the individual, the community, organizations, and society at large.

      Part 2 focuses on capturing much of research dealing with the effects of objective reality objective factors grounded in real, environmental conditions on hedonic well-being, life satisfaction, and eudaimonia. Specifically, this part captures the quality-of-life literature related to biological and health-related effects, income effects, other demographic effects, effects of personal activities, and socio-cultural effects. Part 3 shifts gears to focus on the effects of subjective reality on hedonic well-being, life satisfaction, and eudaimonia.

      In this context, the book reviews research on personality effects, effects of affect and cognition, effects of beliefs and values, effects of goals, self-concept effects, and social comparison effects. Part 4 focuses on quality- of-life research that is domain specific. That is, the book cov. Additional Product Features Number of Volumes. From the reviews of the second edition: "Written by one of the field's most preeminent theoreticians, the volume is an essential reference work for all researchers and scholars of quality of life. Personally, I enjoyed reading this book because it shows clearly and directly the necessity of integrating both micro- and macro-level views into the study of quality of life.

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