Towards measures of affective and eudaimonic subjective well-being in the travel domain

Abstract

Studies of the connections between transportation and subjective well-being (SWB) require a clear understanding of the conceptual composition of travel-related SWB as well as psychometric instruments to measure these complex topics. Well-established psychological scales for measuring general SWB—including both hedonic (affective and cognitive) and eudaimonic aspects—are difficult to adapt or have yet to be tested in the travel domain. Existing measures of travel liking and travel satisfaction are somewhat inadequate for these purposes, especially for representing eudaimonia. Using a questionnaire survey of 680 commuters in the Portland, Oregon, region, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses examined responses to a total of 42 items. Results suggested four-factor measurement models of both travel affect (Enjoyment, Attentiveness, Distress, and Fear) and travel eudaimonia (Health, Competence, Autonomy, and Security). Despite some limitations and opportunities for enhancements, these models show promise as ways of measuring affective and eudaimonic SWB in the travel domain for future studies and travel surveys.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Jennifer Dill, Cynthia Mohr, Liming Wang, and others at Portland State University for their feedback on an earlier version of this analysis (Singleton 2017). Thanks also to three anonymous peer reviewers whose comments significantly improved the entire paper, especially the analysis of travel eudaimonia. This paper was first presented in a workshop on attitudes and perceptions (organized by Juan Antonio Carrasco and Kelly Clifton) at the 11th International Conference on Transport Survey Methods in Estérel, Québec, Canada, in September 2017, where it was selected as one of the conference’s best presentations. Thanks to all the workshop participants for their interest and comments. The measurement structures resulting from this work (specifically, Model 4A for travel affect and Model 4C for travel eudaimonia) are briefly mentioned in a separate article (Singleton 2019b) that uses the same dataset to analyze modal and other determinants of travel SWB. Data collection and preliminary analysis was supported in part by a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (Project# 1005) from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, a program of the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University; and by a graduate fellowship (Grant # DTFH6415G00003) from the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program, a program of the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The funders had no involvement in the study design, data collection, analysis, and preparation of this manuscript.

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PAS: study conception and design, literature search and review, data collection, analysis and interpretation of results, manuscript preparation. KJC: study conception and design, manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to Patrick A. Singleton.

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Singleton, P.A., Clifton, K.J. Towards measures of affective and eudaimonic subjective well-being in the travel domain. Transportation 48, 303–336 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11116-019-10055-1

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Keywords

  • Subjective well-being
  • Affect
  • Eudaimonia
  • Scale development
  • Factor analysis