On the psychology of passion: In search of what makes people's lives most worth living

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The purpose of the present paper is to present a new conceptualisation on passion for activities, the Dualistic Model of Passion (Vallerand et al., 2003) and an overview of related research. Passion is defined as a strong inclination toward an activity that people like, find important, and in which they invest time and energy. This model further posits the existence of two types of passion each associated with different outcomes and experiences. Harmonious passion originates from an autonomous internalisation of the activity in identity and leads people to choose to engage in the activity that they love. It is expected to mainly lead to more adaptive outcomes. Conversely, obsessive passion originates from a controlled internalisation in identity and leads people to experience an uncontrollable urge to engage in the activity. It is hypothesised to predict less adaptive outcomes. Results of several studies conducted with a variety of participants, activities, and outcomes provide support for the model. The development of passion was also addressed. These studies clearly support the significant role of passion in people's lives.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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