Integrating the hedonic and eudaimonic perspectives to more comprehensively understand wellbeing and pathways to wellbeing

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Luke Wayne Henderson
Tess Knight

Abstract

Recently, the disagreement that separates hedonic from eudaimonic philosophers has spread to the science of wellbeing. This has resulted in two opposing perspectives regarding both wellbeing concepts and proposed pathways to wellbeing. Whilst contention continues, most contemporary psychologists now agree that hedonic and eudaimonic approaches each denote important aspects of wellbeing. This has led to integrated wellbeing conceptualisations, in which the combined presence of hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing components is referred to as ‘flourishing’. In regard to the attainment of wellbeing, research simultaneously investigating hedonic and eudaimonic pathways suggests that a life rich in both types of pursuits is associated with the highest degree of wellbeing. Despite this assertion, previously underemphasised methodological limitations question the validity of such claims. To further progress this important area of investigation, future research directions to ameliorate said limitations are explored. It is recommended that the past tendency to contrast and compare hedonia and eudaimonia be abandoned, and instead that the inherent value of both be recognised. Time-use research methods are needed to cross-validate past findings obtained from cross-sectional research, which will make it possible to transition from purely descriptive conclusions to applied conclusions.

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Author Biographies

Luke Wayne Henderson, Deakin University

School of Psychology, Candidate, Docotrate of Clincal Psychology

Tess Knight, Deakin University

School of Psychology, Senior Lecturer