Wellness as healthy functioning or wellness as happiness: The importance of eudaimonic thinking (response to the Kashdan et al. and Waterman discussion)

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Kashdan, Biswas-Diener and King (2008) debated with Waterman (2008) the value of eudaimonic perspectives in well-being research. In this invited response we discuss problems associated with reducing the conceptualization of well-being to subjective well-being (SWB). Although we like and use SWB ourselves as an indicator of well-being, the value of eudaimonic thinking, both in the generation of hypotheses concerning how goals and lifestyles link with wellness, and in broadening and differentiating the outcomes considered to be reflective of wellness. We agree that eudaimonic research in psychology is young and varied, but suggest that preemptively constraining the field to a “big one” (SWB) conceptualization of wellness would be less generative.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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