Psychological well-being revisited: advances in the science and practice of eudaimonia

Psychother Psychosom. 2014;83(1):10-28. doi: 10.1159/000353263. Epub 2013 Nov 19.


This article reviews research and interventions that have grown up around a model of psychological well-being generated more than two decades ago to address neglected aspects of positive functioning such as purposeful engagement in life, realization of personal talents and capacities, and enlightened self-knowledge. The conceptual origins of this formulation are revisited and scientific products emerging from 6 thematic areas are examined: (1) how well-being changes across adult development and later life; (2) what are the personality correlates of well-being; (3) how well-being is linked with experiences in family life; (4) how well-being relates to work and other community activities; (5) what are the connections between well-being and health, including biological risk factors, and (6) via clinical and intervention studies, how psychological well-being can be promoted for ever-greater segments of society. Together, these topics illustrate flourishing interest across diverse scientific disciplines in understanding adults as striving, meaning-making, proactive organisms who are actively negotiating the challenges of life. A take-home message is that increasing evidence supports the health protective features of psychological well-being in reducing risk for disease and promoting length of life. A recurrent and increasingly important theme is resilience - the capacity to maintain or regain well-being in the face of adversity. Implications for future research and practice are considered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aging / physiology
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Family / psychology
  • Health Status*
  • Human Development
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Health / trends*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Personality
  • Philosophy
  • Psychological Theory
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Self Concept*
  • Workload / psychology