University of Twente Student Theses


What aspects of hedonia and eudaimonia do people describe in narratives about flourishing?

Drenski, Charlotte (2019) What aspects of hedonia and eudaimonia do people describe in narratives about flourishing?

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Abstract:Background. Positive psychology established the goal to increase flourishing in the general population. Research on this topic has shown that there exist different points of view on how flourishing is constituted. The main debate involves whether hedonic elements, as positive affect and absence of pain or eudaimonic concepts as self-realization, virtuous behavior and meaningful relationships are more important when flourishing. In addition, a clear definition of eudaimonia is missing. However, previous research was mainly quantitative. Objective. The current study aims to examine the concepts of hedonia and eudaimonia and their contribution to flourishing in narratives. Moreover, this thesis intends to obtain a contemporary and unambiguous definition of eudaimonia by analyzing the narratives. Method. A qualitative research design, where 35 texts of participants categorized as flourishing were analyzed, was employed. Participants were asked to firstly describe their own flourishing and secondly to describe a flourishing person they know or how they imagine a flourishing person to be. Answers were coded deductively and inductively. Results. The analysis showed that the majority of participants named both aspects of hedonia and eudaimonia in their texts. Individuals mostly experienced hedonic emotions like happiness, joy and a sense of well-being when engaging in eudaimonic activities as spending time with people close to them. Additionally, the main codes for eudaimonia were meaningful relationships, improving the well-being of others, self-realization and self-development, implying that ancient terms as proposed by Aristotle, such as wisdom, generosity and courage are of less importance nowadays. Conclusion. The results confirm that the joint presence of hedonic and eudaimonic elements leads to flourishing. Moreover, new insights were not only gained regarding the definition of eudaimonia but also regarding differences in how people describe themselves and how they expect a flourishing person to be. Future research is needed to investigate the relationship between hedonia and eudaimonia in more detail and to show how flourishing develops with time.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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