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I am pleased to have been able to attend and present at the 9th Biennial International Meaning Conference held in Toronto, Ontario July 28-31. Below are the abstracts for two paper presentations and one poster presentation that myself and co-author Roger Tweed from Kwantlen Polytechnic University contributed based on three of our recent joint publications with Daniel Morris.

This was an absolutely excellent and stimulating conference based around spirituality, self-transcendence, and second wave positive psychology, hosted by the International Network on Personal Meaning.

Paper Session #1

Title: The Naturally Emerging Structure of Well-Being

Presenter: Carmel Proctor & Roger Tweed

Abstract: This study explored common measures of well-being to assess whether the naturally emerging relationships are best explained by a ‘‘Big Two’’ (hedonic vs. eudaimonic), a “Big Three” (positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction) or another, yet to be discovered framework. A sample of young adult participants (n = 355) completed measures of life satisfaction, flourishing, positive and negative affect, meaning in life, searching for meaning, having basic psychological needs met, and subjective happiness. Goldberg’s (2006) Bass-Ackward procedure of component analysis was used to determine the relationship between the variables. Results indicated that life satisfaction and flourishing loaded on both hedonic and eudaimonic components at several levels of the analysis, suggesting that life satisfaction and flourishing are not pure measures of hedonia or eudaimonia and may be outcomes of both hedonia and eudaimonia. Life satisfaction and flourishing may be superordinate categories that reflect outcomes of both hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Thus, the ‘‘Big Three’’ measures often used in positive psychology (i.e., positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction) seem to lack a pure measure of eudaimonia and are not a balanced combination of hedonia and eudaimonia. The pattern of data found here are consistent with a proposal that an experience of personal meaning may be a more pure measure of eudaimonic well-being, though further exploration of that proposal is required. Results further indicated that searching for meaning was distinct from hedonia but was also distinct from the experience of having meaning and was not an effective indicator of eudaimonic well-being. Overall, the results justify the distinction between hedonia and eudaimonia; however, they also suggest that further distinctions between different measures of well-being are required. Furthermore, the results suggest that more pure measures of eudaimonia deserve to be explored and that further understanding the place of life satisfaction within hedonic and eudaimonic conceptualizations of happiness is important in enhancing our overall understanding of well-being. Please view our slides: Paper Session 1.Naturally Emerging Structure of Well-Being.Final

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will gain a deeper understanding of components within the larger construct of well-being
  • Participants will understand limitations of the Big 2 model of well-being (hedonia and eudaimonia) and of the Big 3 model of well-being (positive affect, negative affect, life satisfaction)
  • Participants will learn about elements of well-being that are relevant for considering the current state of their clients in therapy

Paper Session #2:

Title: Measuring Eudaimonic Well-Being for Research, Policy, or Therapy

Presenter: Roger G Tweed & Carmel Proctor

Currently, there is little agreement on the best measures of eudaimonia to be used by academic or policy-concerned researchers or by therapists. This presentation will first briefly review Aristotle’s conceptualization of eudaimonia, then describe the consequences of lacking agreed-upon measures of this construct, and review measures that can be used to assess eudaimonic well-being for both academic and policy-relevant research and for therapy. Aristotle proposed that eudaimonia involves the pursuit of excellence and virtue, that this pursuit is never complete, but that after some habituation, this pursuit evokes pleasure. Some governments are beginning to take interest in measures of well-being as guides for policy; however, if pure measures of eudaimonia are not widely known, then policy may be guided only by measures of hedonia or by impure measures of eudaimonia and thus may focus excessively on policies that promote short-term hedonic well-being rather than longer lasting eudaimonic well-being. A modification of a framework from Huta and Waterman (2014) will be used in this presentation as a structure for considering appropriate measures. Within this framework, one can consider a variety of measures of eudaimonic motivation, eudaimonic behavior, and outcomes indicating that eudaimonic well-being exists. The latter category includes indicators of personal meaning, personal growth, having basic psychological needs met, and even wisdom. One element of Aristotle’s ideas weakly represented in many of these measures is an indicator of effort in the pursuit of virtue or character strength that seems relevant to Aristotle’s ideas. Some published factor analytic work with character strengths provides suggestions of constructs and even measures that could possibly be used to supplement existing measures of eudaimonia. Please view our slides

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will gain understanding of aspects of eudaimonic well-being
  • Participants will gain familiarity with measures of eudaimonic well-being that may have relevance to research, policy, and therapy
  • Participants will learn about limitations of currently available measures of eudaimonic well-being.

Poster Session #1

Title: The Rogerian Fully Functioning Person

Authors: Carmel Proctor, Roger G Tweed, Daniel Morris

Abstract: Two studies examined the characteristics of the Rogerian fully functioning person from the positive psychology perspective. Based on the findings of extant research in support of the Rogerian metatheoretical model, indicators were selected to represent characteristics constituting the fully functioning person. Using confirmatory factor analysis, a single factor structure of the fully functioning person was assessed with young adults. Participants of both studies completed measures of life satisfaction, positive thoughts and feelings, authenticity, organismic valuing, aspirations, basic psychological needs, anxiety, and strengths use. Participants of Study 2 also completed a measure of character strengths endorsement. Analyses revealed that variables consistent with the Rogerian fully functioning person loaded positively on a single “fully functioning person” factor. Overall, results suggest that the fully functioning person is high in life satisfaction, has increased positive thoughts and feelings and decreased negative thoughts and feelings, low anxiety, and moves toward intrinsic values rather than extrinsic values. The fully functioning person component was positively correlated with the character strengths of enthusiasm, bravery, honesty, leadership, and spirituality, and negatively correlated with modesty and fairness. Results supplement research indicating strong links between positive psychology and the person-centered theory of Carl Rogers. Please view our poster: Meaning Conference Poster.Final.CP

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn about Carl Rogers’ concept of the fully functioning person
  • Participants will more about the nature of this fully functioning person based on empirical research on this topic.
  • Participants will gain an appreciation for the links between humanistic psychology and positive psychology

 

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