Pursuit of pleasure, engagement, and meaning: Relationships to subjective and objective measures of well-being

Stephen M. Schueller, Martin E P Seligman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pleasure, engagement, and meaning are all unique predictors of individuals' well-being. We explored the relationship between the pursuit of each of these pathways and well-being. Participants (N = 13,565) visited a website and completed a measure about their orientation toward pleasure, engagement, and meaning as a pathway to happiness as well as measures of subjective and objective well-being (OWB). All three pathways correlated with higher levels of subjective well-being (SWB). Pursuing engagement and meaning, however, were more strongly related to SWB than pursuing pleasure. Objective indicators of well-being, including measures of occupational and educational attainment, displayed a similar pattern, with engagement and meaning positively related, whereas pleasure was negatively related. Although these results are merely correlational, it suggests that engaging and meaningful activities may have stronger influences on well-being than pursuing pleasure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-263
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

Keywords

  • Authentic happiness
  • Engagement
  • Happiness
  • Meaning
  • Pleasure
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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