Subjective well-being, eudemonic well-being and perception of self and others
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Subjective well-being, eudemonic well-being and perception of self and others Marie-Claire Ellsmore, RoseAnne Misajon & Tom Whelan Monash University, Melbourne. Subjective well-being and eudemonic well-being: complementary constructs.

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Subjective well being eudemonic well being and perception of self and others

Subjective well-being, eudemonic well-being and perception of self and others

Marie-Claire Ellsmore, RoseAnne Misajon & Tom Whelan

Monash University, Melbourne


Subjective well being eudemonic well being and perception of self and others

Subjective well-being and eudemonic

well-being:

complementary constructs

  • Eudemonic well-being (EWB) evolves from pursuing contexts and relationships that fulfill intrinsic human needs while continually extending the self, resulting in personal growth (e.g., Ryan & Deci, 2001; Ryff, 1989; Waterman, 1993)

  • Both Subjective well-being (SWB) and EWB research traditions provide complementary insight into well-being phenomena (e.g., Sirgy et al., 2006)


Well being and positively biased self perception

Well-being and positively biased self-perception

  • Both SWB and EWB research traditions also converge at the social-cognitive level of analysis(e.g., Fujita & Diener, 2005; Reis, et al., 2000)

  • Positively biased self-perception

  • Social comparison perspective: perception of self and “average other” (Festinger, 1954)

  • Self-insight perspective: perception of self compared with external evaluation (Kwan et al., 2004)


Subjective well being eudemonic well being and perception of self and others

Well-being and positively biased self-perception

  • Positively biased self-perception measured using social comparison methodologies has been found to correlate with greater SWB and EWB (e.g., Boyd-Wilson et al., 2002; Cummins & Nistico, 2002)

  • Baumeister’s (1989) “optimal margin of illusion” to account for the paradox:

  • SWB and positively biased self-perception = linear relationship (e.g., Taylor et al., 2003)

  • EWB and positively biased self-perception = curvilinear relationship?


Well being and perception of others

Well-being and perception of others

  • Greater SWB and EWB is associated with positive interpersonal relationships

    (e.g., Cummins, Lau & Davern, in press; Ryff, 1989)

  • Evidence also suggests that how positively individuals perceive others affects their interpersonal functioning(e.g., Mikuliner & Horesh, 1999; Sacco, 1999)

  • Therefore, how individuals perceive others is likely to be directly predictive of both SWB and EWB


Self and other perception

Self- and other-perception

  • What about the interdependence of self- and other-perception? (e.g., Baumeister & Twenge, 2003; Mussweiler, 2003)

  • Unlikely that both positively biased self-perception and positive other-perception can bothpredict greater well-being


Subjective well being eudemonic well being and perception of self and others

Aims of research

1. Clarify relationships between positively biased self-perception, SWB and EWB

1.a.Curvilinear relationship between positively biased self-perception and EWB?

2. Explore relationships between other-perception, SWB and EWB

3.Explore impact of other-perception on a social comparison measure of positively biased self-perception


Participants

Participants

  • 133 ‘hardcopy’ respondents

  • 23 e-mail respondents

  • Aged 18 – 83 (M = 42.8 years; SD = 14.9)

  • Female n = 99 (63.0%); Male n = 58 (37.0%)

  • University educated n = 86 (54.8%)

  • Married or living with partner n = 95 (60.5%)

  • Children/ dependent relatives n = 73 (46.5%)

  • English spoken at home n = 141 (89.9%)

  • Non-English speakers’ average time in Australia of 26 years (range 10 – 47 years)

  • Metropolitan residents n = 140 (89.2%)


Measures

Measures

  • Demographic measure = age, sex, dependent relatives or children at home, language spoken at home, number of years spent in Australia, postcode, highest level of education completed, relationship situation

  • SWB (Life Satisfaction) = Personal Wellbeing Index (International Wellbeing Group, 2006)

  • EWB (Self-actualisation) = Short Index of Self-Actualization (Jones & Crandall, 1986)


Measures1

Measures

  • Positive bias in self-perception

  • 8 positive personality descriptors:

  • “Friendly, Reliable, Imaginative, Interesting, Considerate, Intelligent, Sincere, Humorous”

  • 8 negative personality descriptors:

  • “Unkind, Insecure, Dishonourable, Mean, Dishonest, Phony, Deceitful, Liar”

  • Participants asked to rate both themselves and the “average” person of same age and sex

  • Methodology adopted from Boyd-Wilson et al., 2002; 2004.


Measures2

Measures

  • Bias in self-perception =

    (∑Self positive -∑Other positive)

    +

    (∑Other negative -∑Self negative)

  • Index > 0 = positively biased self-perception

    • Index of 0 = absence of bias in self-perception

    • Index < 0 = negatively biased self-perception


Measures3

Measures

  • “Self-positivity” =

    ∑Self positive ratings -∑Self negative ratings

  • “Other-positivity” =

    ∑Other positive ratings - ∑Other negative ratings

  • Other-perception = Revised Philosophies of Human Nature Scale (Robinson, Shaver, & Wrightsman, 1992)


Procedure

Procedure

  • Measures were collated in the following order:

    1.Self-ratings on the 16 personality descriptors

    2.Personal Wellbeing Index

    3.Ratings of others on the 16 personality descriptors

    4.Short Index of Self-Actualization

    5.Revised Philosophies of Human Nature Scale

    6.Demographic information

  • 56 (35.7%) respondents returned questionnaires with sections 1 and 3 reversed


Results

Results

  • SWB underwent a square root transformation and reflection to improve normality, therefore increased SWB scores indicate lower SWB

  • SWB and EWBr = -.23, p < .01(i.e., greater life satisfaction scores correlated with greater self-actualisation scores)

  • SWB and positively biased self-perception

    r = .05, p = ns

  • EWB and positively biased self-perception

    r = .07, p = ns


Results1

Results

  • Self-positivity and other-positivity

    r = .50, p < .001

  • Positively biased self-perception and self-positivity

  • r = .22, p < .01

  • Positively biased self-perception and other-positivity

  • r = -.73, p < .001

  • Self-positivity and SWBr = -.46, p <.001 (i.e., SWB scores increased with greater self-positivity)

  • Self-positivity and EWBr = .27, p <.001


Results2

Results

  • Apart from respondents’ age significantly correlating with other-positivity (r = .32,

    p <.0001), none of the other demographic or procedural variables (i.e., questionnaire format or rating order) significantly correlated with the variables of interest

  • To partition variance as a function of age, sequential multiple regression was used for all subsequent analyses with age entered as step 1 of each analysis


Results3

Results

1.A sequential polynomial regression found no evidence of the hypothesised curvilinear (quadratic) relationship between positively biased self-perception and EWB

2. The sequential regression of age, trust and cynicism onto SWB found trust and cynicism predicted approx. 21% of variance in SWB

(sr² = .21, p < .001);trust positively, and cynicism negatively correlating with greater SWB


Results4

Results

3.The sequential regression of age, trust and cynicism onto EWB found trust and cynicism predicted approx. 7% of variance in EWB

(sr² = .07, p < .01);trust positively, and cynicism negatively correlating with greater EWB

4.The sequential regression of age, trust and cynicism onto positively biased self-perception found trust and cynicism predicted approx. 12% of variance in positively biased self-perception

(sr² = .12, p < .001);trust negatively and cynicism positively correlating with positive bias in self-perception


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • SWB and EWB significantly positively correlated

  • Positively biased self-perception, SWB and EWBnon-significantly correlated

  • Positive other-perception (i.e., greater trust & less cynicism) significantly positively correlated with both SWB and EWB

  • Negative other-perception (i.e.,greater cynicism & less trust) significantly positively correlated with positively biased self-perception

  • Self-positivity significantly positively correlated with other-positivity, SWB and EWB


Limitations

Limitations

  • Exclusive reliance on self-report measures

  • Lack of control over test-taking behaviour

  • Causal interpretation not possible

  • Relationship between other-perception and well-being may be better accounted for by personality (e.g., agreeableness) or attachment style


References

References

Baumeister, R. F. (1989). The optimal margin of illusion. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 8(2), 176-189.

Baumeister, R. F., & Twenge, J. M. (2003). The social self. Retrieved Jun-7-2007, from http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/hop/hop_contents_fs.html

Boyd-Wilson, B. M., McClure, J., & Walkey, F. H. (2004). Are wellbeing and illusory perceptions linked? The answer may be yes, but ... Australian Journal of Psychology, 56(1), 1-9.

Boyd-Wilson, B. M., Walkey, F. H., & McClure, J. (2002). Present and correct: We kid ourselves less when we live in the moment. Personality and Individual Differences, 22, 691-702.

Cummins, R. A., Lau, A. L. D., & Davern, M. (Eds.). (in press). Homeostatic mechanisms and subjective wellbeing. New York: Springer.

Cummins, R. A., & Nistico, H. (2002). Maintaining life satisfaction: The role of positive cognitive bias. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, 37-69.

Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7, 117-140.


References1

References

Fujita, F., & Diener, E. (2005). Life satisfaction set point: Stability and change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(1), 158-164.

International Wellbeing Group. (2006). Personal Wellbeing Index: 4th Edition. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, Deakin University.

Jones, A., & Crandall, R. (1986). Validation of a short index of self-actualization. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 12(1), 63-73.

Kwan, V. S. K., John, O. P., Kenny, D. A., Bond, M. H., & Robins, R. W. (2004). Reconceptualizing individual differences in self-enhancement bias: An interpersonal approach. Psychological Review, 111(1), 94-110.

Mikulincer, M., & Horesh, N. (1999). Adult attachment style and perception of others: The role of projective mechanisms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(6), 1022-1034.

Mussweiler, T. (2003). Comparison processes in social judgment: Mechanisms and consequences. Psychological Review, 110(3), 472-489.

Reis, H. T., Sheldon, K. M., Gable, S. L., Roscoe, J., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). Daily well-being: The role of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26(4), 419-435.


References2

References

Robinson, J. P., Shaver, P. R., & Wrightsman, L. S. (1991). Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes (Vol. 1). New York: Academic Press.

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.

Ryff, C. D. (1989a). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(6), 1069-1081.

Sacco, W. P. (1999). A social-cognitive model of interpersonal processes in depression. In T. Joiner & J. C. Coyne (Eds.), The interactional nature of depression: Advances in interpersonal approaches (pp. 329-362). Washington: American Psychological Association.

Sirgy, M. J., Michalos, A. C., Ferriss, A. L., Easterlin, R. A., Patrick, D., & Pavot, W. (2006). The quality-of-life (QOL) research movement: Past, present, and future. Social Indicators Research, 76, 343-466.

Taylor, S. E., Lerner, J. S., Sherman, D. K., Sage, R. M., & McDowell, N. K. (2003). Portrait of a self-enhancer: Well adjusted and well liked or maladjusted and friendless? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(1), 165-176.

Waterman, A. S. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: Contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(4), 678-691.


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