Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Investigating the Predictive Role of Authenticity on Subjective Vitality with Structural Equation Modelling

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Investigating the Predictive Role of Authenticity on Subjective Vitality with Structural Equation Modelling

Article excerpt

Up until the last four decades, psychology studies focused almost all of their attention on symptoms, disorders and problems, while the areas of human strength, mental health and well-being were neglected (Seligman, 2002). However, as social sciences attempted to better understand the functional properties of human beings, it became evident that positive aspects of psychological functioning were misunderstood and perhaps most importantly, understudied. Regarding this issue, Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000, p. 5) have argued that the field of psychology had problems producing sufficient 'knowledge of what makes life worth living'. As a result of these assertions, a positive psychology movement was put forward that emphasised the conditions and processes that contributed to optimal functioning of people, groups and institutions (Gable & Haidt, 2005). According to this approach, psychology research should pay more attention to building the best qualities, instead of repairing the worst aspects of life (Seligman, 2002), and understanding and encouraging the well-being of humans (Seligman & Czikszentmihalyi, 2000). Therefore, in recent years, psychologists have become more interested in positive feelings and emotions of well-being, such as authenticity and vitality, instead of focusing on negative or unpleasant emotional constructs such as depression and anxiety.


In psychological counselling, thoughts, feelings and behaviours are all congruent and "to be oneself " has been generally considered as a moral necessity (Bialystok, 2009). The origins of this process, referred to as "authenticity," can be found in recommendations from ancient Greek philosophy such as "Know thyself " and "To thine own self be true" (Harter, 2002). In addition, from an Anatolian perspective, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi (a well-known Turkish theologist) stated the crucial role of being an authentic individual by his motto: "Either appear as you are or be as you appear."

Authenticity has been defined in various ways such as "accordance between how someone presents himself and what he actually is" (Bialystok, 2009) and "being emotionally sincere, having self-attunement, and psychological depth, and behaving candidly and without having hidden intentions" (Sheldon, 2009). Moreover, authenticity has been described by Snyder and Lopez (2009) as representing one's true beliefs, values and actions to oneself and others as well as behaving faithfully and taking responsibility for one's own emotions and behaviours (Peterson & Park, 2004). More recently, an authenticity model was developed by Wood, Linley, Maltby, and Baliousis (2008), which included three dimensions: self-alienation, accepting external influence and authentic living.

The first dimension refers to an inadequate sense of identity due to not knowing oneself and the contradiction between conscious awareness and real experience, while the second dimension involves a belief that an individual must adjust to the expectations of others. Finally, the third dimension means being true to oneself and behaving in a manner that is consistent with one's own beliefs and values. These three components have been experienced differently at the phenomenological level even though they interact mutually with one another. For example, a person who is not open to external influence behaves more authentically, while one who accepts external influence is more likely to behave with more self-alienated manners. In Woods' model, authentic living is an indicator of authenticity, whereas self-alienation and accepting external influence show inauthenticity (Pinto, Maltby, Wood, & Day, 2012; Wood et al., 2008).

Previous studies have shown that authenticity is a strong predictor of psychological health. In addition, it was found that authenticity is positively related to subjective well-being, self-esteem, psychological well-being (Wood et al., 2008), extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness (Sheldon, Ryan, Rawsthorne, & Hardi, 1997) and well-being at work (Ménard & Brunet, 2011). …

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