Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

The Investigation of the Relationship between the Meaning Attributed to Life and Work, Depression, and Subjective and Psychological Well-Being in Transylvanian Hungarian Young Adults

Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

The Investigation of the Relationship between the Meaning Attributed to Life and Work, Depression, and Subjective and Psychological Well-Being in Transylvanian Hungarian Young Adults

Article excerpt

Introduction

The last four-five decades have witnessed an unprecedented rate of changes in the demographic, social, technological, political, economic life, family structures, which force individuals to face an increasing number of challenges (Amundson 2006; Feinstein, Vorhaus, & Sabates, 2010; Sparks, Faragher, & Cooper, 2001). Precarious financial stability, accentuated changes in the job market, changes in norm- and value-systems, globalization, etc., imbue all areas of existence. The stability and relative predictability characteristic to the past have been replaced by a plethora of new options and possibilities in most life-domains (Weil & Rosen, 1997), which in many cases turn past advantages into present adversities. In conditions when people have to live in the absence of stable life-guiding frameworks, "of some generally agreed-on set of values or beliefs that provides practical wisdom to guide the making of choices, too many options can be difficult to bear" (Woolfolk, Lehrer, & Allen, 2007, p. 12). Even if economists appreciate change and innovation in order to intensify economic growth, research in psychology indicates that inadequately high rates of change negatively impact human functioning and collaterally, productivity as well (Weehuizen, 2008). As Weehuizen (2008) has stated, this fast rate of change has significantly improved some aspects of living, simultaneously impairing other aspects of efficient human functioning.

In the same time, the number of people who cannot attain an optimal level of functioning, who cannot appropriately adapt to these protean life-conditions, is constantly growing. The results of maladaptation and dysfunctioning is best reflected by the alarmingly increasing number of children and adults who develop different forms of clinically diagnosable mental health problems (e.g., anxiety disorders, depression, burnout), as well as malfunctioning at subclinical levels (Costello, Egger, & Angold 2004; Cunningham, Rapee, & Lyneham 2006; European Commission 2005; Antony, Roth, Swinson, Huta, & Devins 1998; Cuijpers, Smit, & van Straten 2007; da Silva Lima, & de Almeida Fleck 2007). These mental health problems exert their debilitating effect not only at the individual's level, but seriously alter the life and environment of those living with them, which later on may have significant influences on national economies as well (Weehuizen, 2008).

Subjective and psychological well-being

Following the positive and negative effects exerted by these constantly changing life conditions on human functioning, western psychology got more and more interested in understanding of what constitutes an optimally lived life, and what human well-being really is (Diener & Seligman, 2004; Seligman & Czikszentmihalyi, 2000; Seligman et al., 2005). Psychology has treated this concept within two distinct approaches: subjective (hedonic) and psychological (eudaimonic) well-being (Lent, 2004). In the subjective (hedonic) approach well-being is equated with pleasure and happiness, representing a "broad category of phenomena that include people's emotional responses, domain satisfactions, and global judgments of life satisfaction" (Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999, p. 277). Usually, SWB is considered to encompass three distinct, nevertheless associated components: life satisfaction, positive affect, and the absence of negative affect (Diener, Lucas, & Oishi, 2002). On the other hand, the eudaimonic approach considers that a well-lived life is represented by one's attempt to fulfill own potentials, and transcends mere happiness (Waterman, 1993). Psychological well-being (PWB) is usually treated as a multidimensional construct (Ryff & Sinder, 1998; 2006), formed of six major components: self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, environmental, purpose in life, and personal growth (Ryff & Keyes, 1995).

Self-acceptance refers to the individual's capacity for unconditional self-acceptance, devoid of any kind of judgment of value. …

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