There are different orientations towards pursuing a “good life”, such as eudaimonia (seeking authenticity, excellence, meaning and growth), hedonia (seeking pleasure and comfort) and extrinsic motives (seeking money, power, status, popularity, and image) (Huta, 2016).There is limited research exploring how these orientations to well-being change across the lifespan.
In this cross-sectional study,adults aged 18 to 87 (n = 1324) completed online questionnaires assessing levels of eudaimonic, hedonic pleasure, hedonic comfort, and extrinsic pursuits in their current ways of living.
Using a piecewise linear analysis, differences in the four orientations were observed across age and gender. Eudaimonic motives significantly increased until age 35 for females and significantly decreased from age 35 to 45 for males. Hedonic pleasure significantly decreased after age 35 for both females and males. Hedonic comfort marginally increased until age 35 for both genders and significantly decreased from age 35 to 55 for males. Extrinsic motives significantly decreased for both females and males over the lifespan.
The study observed notable gender differences as well as varying patterns across the lifespan for each orientation to well-being. Results suggest that both gender and life stage may influence the ways in which people pursue a “good life”.