Being well at well-being. A comparison of the processes contributing to well-being according to three models.

  • S. Sonnaville

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Humanistic Studies


The aim of this theoretical research was to gain insight in the processes that contribute to different forms of well-being. This goal was pursued by comparing three major well-being models in positive psychology: the concept of Subjective Well-Being (SWB) by Ed Diener, the model of Psychological Well-Being (PWB) by Carol Ryff and the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) by Richard Ryan and Edward Deci. The processes that underly well-being according to these models have been described, visualized and compared in order to determine their similarities and differences. It turned out that these theories sometimes contradict each other, and at other times validate or complement one another. The most striking point of divergence was that SDT and PWB contradict SWB’s assumption that the content of goals is unimportant to the well-being that results from achieving this goal. However, there are also some important points of convergence. All theories implicitly or explicitly emphasize the importance of competence and SWB and SDT agree that affect can be understood as feedback that guides our behavior in ways that are favorable to us. Both SDT and PWB underscore the importance of awareness since this helps individuals to move in the right direction. Lastly, all theories implicitly or explicitly stress the importance of creating a life that is congruent with one’s needs and values. The results of this study add to the understanding of the concept and causes of well-being, and in addition give insight in how well-being could be enhanced durably. It also points to the conceptual overlap between well-being and meaning in life, which suggests that these themes could be approached simultaneously, in order to build a life worth living.
Date of Award1 Jan 2018
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorH. Laceulle (Supervisor) & F. Pitstra (Supervisor)

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