Publication Date

2008-09-30

Availability

Open access

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense

2008-09-24

First Committee Member

Blaine Fowers - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Ray Winters - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Debbiesiu Lee - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Isaac Prilleltensky - Committee Member

Abstract

Studies in the areas of goal pursuit and well-being suggest that the goals people work toward in their daily lives are important contributors of well-being. However, research to date has focused primarily on aspects of the individual in goal pursuit even though goals are not pursued in isolation. In fact, there is evidence that this emphasis on the individual, particularly salient in Western cultures, has negative consequences at both the individual and community levels. With regard to well-being, data have indicated that it is best represented as two dimensional, including hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. However, the research on personal goals has primarily focused on hedonic well-being of the individual. Overall, hedonic well-being appears to be more related to affective experience, whereas eudaimonic well-being appears to be more comprehensive and related to topics like purpose in life, self-acceptance, and positive relations with others. The theoretical framework of Virtue Ethics posits that social affiliations are essential for human beings to flourish and experience eudaimonia, and this study examines that premise. A two-step approach to structural equation modeling was used to contribute to the extant literature on goal pursuit and well-being by 1) exploring the individual and interpersonal dimensions of goal pursuit and their relationships to hedonic and eudaimonic well-being and 2) exploring the interpersonal dimensions of goal pursuit as a mediator of the relationship between individual dimensions of goal pursuit and eudaimonic well-being. The retained structural model from the two-step approach included Efficacy (an Individual Dimension of Goal Pursuit) and Generativity (an Interpersonal Dimension of Goal Pursuit). Results demonstrated that Efficacy and Generativity were both significantly related to Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-being; however, Generativity was more strongly related to Eudaimonic than Hedonic Well-being. These findings were consistent with the premise of Virtue theory, that those engaged in goal pursuit with or on behalf of others are more likely to experience higher levels of eudaimonic well-being. Future research should include further exploration of the Interpersonal Dimensions of Goal Pursuit and well-being specifically by focusing on improving measurement for the Interpersonal Dimensions of Goal Pursuit, Hedonic, and Eudaimonic Well-being.

Keywords

Hedonic Well-being; Eudaimonic Well-being; Goal Pursuit; Well-being

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