Advertisement

Eudaimonic Well-being: A Gendered Perspective

  • Leah J. FergusonEmail author
  • Katie E. Gunnell
Chapter
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)

Abstract

In this chapter we attempt to present a nuanced approach to eudaimonic wellbeing by considering it from a gendered perspective. Beginning with a discussion on two traditions of wellbeing – hedonic and eudaimonic – we briefly overview some literature on the similarities and differences for women and men on indices of wellbeing. Stemming from the position that gender differences in wellbeing are generally equivocal, we consider key methodological and philosophical issues that may enhance our knowledge on eudaimonic wellbeing from a gendered perspective. The development and validation of psychometrically sound measurement instruments – including examination of gender invariance – openness to explore eudaimonic wellbeing from a more social constructivist philosophical worldview, and embracing a fluid conceptualization of gender have merit for advancing this research area and furthering our understanding of wellbeing from a gendered perspective.

Keywords

Happiness Wellbeing Eudaimonia Gender 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Erica V. Bennett for her guidance and insightful comments regarding the fluidity of gender when investigating well-being.

References

  1. Ahrens, C. J. C., & Ryff, C. D. (2006). Multiple roles and well-being: Sociodemographic and psychological moderators. Sex Roles, 55, 801–815. doi: 10.1007/s11199-006-9134-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bauer, J. J., McAdams, D. P., & Pals, J. L. (2008). Narrative identity and eudaimonic well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 81–104. doi: 10.1007/s10902-006-9021-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boardman, J. D., Blalock, C. L., & Button, T. M. M. (2008). Sex differences in the heritability of resilience. Twin Research and Human Genetics: The Official Journal of the International Society for Twin Studies, 11, 12–27. doi: 10.1375/twin.11.1.12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chatzisarantis, N. L. D., & Hagger, M. S. (2007). The moral worth of sport reconsidered: Contributions of recreational sport and competitive sport to life aspirations and psychological well-being. Journal of Sports Sciences, 25, 1047–1056. doi: 10.1080/02640410600959954.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chinni, M. L., & Hubley, A. M. (2014). A research synthesis of validation practices used to evaluate the satisfaction with life scale (SWLS). In B. D. Zumbo & E. K. H. Chan (Eds.), Validity and validation in social, behavioral, and health sciences (pp. 35–66). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  6. Cowen, E. L. (1991). In pursuit of wellness. American Psychologist, 46, 404–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Diener, E., & Diener, M. (1995). Cross-cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(4), 653–663. http://doi.org/  10.1037/0022-3514.68.4.653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fujita, F., Diener, E., & Sandvik, E. (1991). Gender differences in negative affect and well-being: The case for emotional intensity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 427–434. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.61.3.427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Herzog, A. R., Rodgers, W. L., & Woodworth, J. (1982). Subjective well-being among different age groups. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  11. Horn, J. L. (1991). Discussion of the issues of factorial invariance. In L. M. Collins & J. L. Horn (Eds.), Best methods for the analysis of change (pp. 114–125). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  12. Huta, V. (2013). Eudaimonia. In I. Boniwell, S. A. David, & A. C. Ayers (Eds.), Oxford handbook of happiness (pp. 201–213). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Jahoda, M. (1958). Current concepts of positive mental health. New York: Basic Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kashdan, T. B., Biswas-Diener, R., & King, L. A. (2008). Reconsidering happiness: The costs of distinguishing between hedonics and eudaimonia. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 3, 219–233. doi: 10.1080/17439760802303044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Keyes, C. L. M. (2007). Promoting and protecting mental health as flourishing: A complementary strategy for improving national mental health. American Psychologist, 62, 95–108. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.62.2.95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kimiecik, J. (2011). Exploring the promise of eudaimonic well-being within the practice of health promotion: The “how” is as important as the “what”. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12, 769–792. doi: 10.1007/s10902-010-9226-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kokko, K., Korkalainen, A., Lyyra, A. L., & Feldt, T. (2013). Structure and continuity of well-being in mid-adulthood: A longitudinal study. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14, 99–114. doi: 10.1007/s10902-011-9318-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lenroot, R., Gogtay, N., Greenstein, D., Molloy Wells, E., Wallace, G., Clasen, L., … & Giedd, J. (2007). Sexual dimorphism of brain developmental trajectories during childhood and adolescence. Neuroimage, 36, 1065–1073. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07165.x.Characterization.
  19. Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being (2nd ed.). New York: Van Nostrand.Google Scholar
  20. Messick, S. (1995). Validity of psychological assessment: Validation of inferences from persons’ responses and performances as scientific inquiry into score meaning. American Psychologist, 50, 741–749. doi: 10.1037//0003-066X.50.9.741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nussbaum, M. C. (2008). Who is the happy warrior? Philosophy poses questions to psychology. The Journal of Legal Studies, 37, S81–S113. doi: 10.1086/587438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Perez, J. A. (2012). Gender difference in psychological well-being among Filipino college student samples. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 2, 84–93.Google Scholar
  23. Philippe, F. L., Vallerand, R. J., & Lavigne, G. L. (2009). Passion does make a difference in people’s lives: A look at well-being in passionate and non-passionate individuals. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 1, 3–22. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-0854.2008.01003.x.Google Scholar
  24. Pinquart, M., & Sörensen, S. (2001). Gender differences in self-concept and psychological well-being in old age: A meta-analysis. Journal of Gerontology, 56, 195–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pugliesi, K. (1995). Work and well-being: Gender differences in the psychological consequences of employment. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 36, 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rhoes, N., & Pivik, K. (2011). Age and gender differences in risky driving: The roles of positive affect and risk perception. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 43, 923–931. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2010.11.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Robitschek, C., & Keyes, C. L. M. (2009). Keyes’s model of mental health with personal growth initiative as a parsimonious predictor. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56, 321–329. doi: 10.1037/a0013954.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Roothman, B., Kirsten, D. K., & Wissing, M. P. (2003). Gender differences in aspects of psychological well-being. South African Journal of Psychology, 33, 212–218. doi: 10.1177/008124630303300403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ryan, R. M., & Huta, V. (2009). Wellness as healthy functioning or wellness as happiness: The importance of eudaimonic thinking (response to the Kashdan et al. and Waterman discussion). The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 202–204. doi: 10.1080/17439760902844285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ryan, R. M., Huta, V., & Deci, E. L. (2008). Living well: A self-determination theory perspective of eudaimonia. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 139–170. doi: 10.1007/s10902-006-9023-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069–1081. doi: 10.1037/034645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ryff, C. D. (1995). Psychological well-being in adult life. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 4, 99–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719–727. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.69.4.719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ryff, C. D., Keyes, C. L. M., & Hughes, D. L. (2003). Status inequalities, perceived discrimination, and eudaimonic well-being: Do the challenges of minority life hone purpose and growth? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 44, 275–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. (1998). The contours of positive health. Psychological Inquiry: An International Journal for Advancement of Psychology Theory, 9, 1–28. doi: 10.1207/s15327965pli0901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. (2002). From social structure to biology. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 541–555). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Schutte, L., Wissing, M. P., & Khumalo, I. P. (2013). Further validation of the questionnaire for eudaimonic well-being (QEWB). Psychology of Well-Being: Theory, Research and Practice, 3(3), 1–22. http://doi.org/  10.1186/2211-1522-3-3.Google Scholar
  39. Schwartz, S. J., Mullis, R. L., Waterman, A. S., & Dunham, R. M. (2000). Ego identity status, identity style, and personal expressiveness: An empirical investigation of three convergent constructs. Journal of Adolescent Research, 15, 504–521. doi: 10.1177/0743558400154005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  41. Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychology, 55, 5–14. doi: 10.1037//0003-066X.55.1.5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Vittersø, J. (2003). Flow versus life satisfaction: A projective use of cartoons to illustrate the difference between the evaluation approach and the intrinsic motivation approach to subjective quality of life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 4, 141–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vleioras, G., & Bosma, H. A. (2005). Are identity styles important for psychological well-being? Journal of Adolescence, 28, 397–409. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2004.09.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Waterman, A. S. (1990). The relevance of Aristotle’s conception of eudaimonia for the psychological study of happiness. Theoretical & Philosophical Psychology, 10, 39–44. doi: 10.1037/h0091489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Waterman, A. S. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: Contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 678–691. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.64.4.678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Waterman, A. S. (2007). Doing well: The relationship of identity status to three conceptions of well-being. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 7, 289–307. doi: 10.1080/15283480701600769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Waterman, A. S., Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., Ravert, R. D., Williams, M. K., Bede Agocha, V., … & Brent Donnellan, M. (2010). The questionnaire for eudaimonic well-being: Psychometric properties, demographic comparisons, and evidence of validity. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5, 41–61. doi: 10.1080/17439760903435208.Google Scholar
  48. WHO. (2001). Basic documents (43rd ed., p. 1). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  49. Wu, A. D., Li, Z., & Zumbo, B. D. (2007). Decoding the meaning of factorial invariance and updating the practice of multi-group confirmatory factor analysis: A demonstration with TIMSS data. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 12, 1–26.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Kinesiology, University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.The Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research GroupThe Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Research InstituteOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations