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Lay Conceptions of Well-Being Among Undergraduate Students from the United States and South Korea: Culture-Level Differences and Correlates

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  • Ethan McMahan

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  • Seungah Ryu
  • Incheol Choi

Abstract

The current research provides a descriptive and comparative assessment of lay conceptions of well-being in undergraduate student samples from South Korea and the United States. The objectives of the current research were (1) to examine potential cross-cultural variability in the degree to which the experience of pleasure, avoidance of negative experience, self-development, and contribution are emphasized in the lay conceptions of well-being espoused by undergraduate students in South Korea and the United States, and (2) to investigate potential cross-cultural variability in associations between each of the above dimensions and multiple indicators of experienced well-being. To address these objectives, samples were drawn from universities in the United States and South Korea, and self-report instruments measuring the constructs of interest were administered. Results indicated that the South Korean sample emphasized the experience of pleasure and avoidance of negative experience to a greater degree than the United States sample, whereas the United States sample emphasized contribution to others to a greater degree than the South Korean sample. Despite these differences, associations between lay conception of well-being dimensions and experienced well-being were largely similar across cultural groups. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Ethan McMahan & Seungah Ryu & Incheol Choi, 2014. "Lay Conceptions of Well-Being Among Undergraduate Students from the United States and South Korea: Culture-Level Differences and Correlates," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 321-339, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:119:y:2014:i:1:p:321-339 DOI: 10.1007/s11205-013-0476-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Edward Deci & Richard Ryan, 2008. "Hedonia, eudaimonia, and well-being: an introduction," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 1-11, January.
    2. Ethan McMahan & David Estes, 2012. "Age-Related Differences in Lay Conceptions of Well-Being and Experienced Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 79-101, March.
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    4. Gregory Hancock, 2001. "Effect size, power, and sample size determination for structured means modeling and mimic approaches to between-groups hypothesis testing of means on a single latent construct," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 373-388, September.
    5. Carol Ryff & Burton Singer, 2008. "Know Thyself and Become What You Are: A Eudaimonic Approach to Psychological Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 13-39, January.
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    7. Sonja Lyubomirsky & Heidi Lepper, 1999. "A Measure of Subjective Happiness: Preliminary Reliability and Construct Validation," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 137-155, February.
    8. Ethan McMahan & David Estes, 2011. "Hedonic Versus Eudaimonic Conceptions of Well-being: Evidence of Differential Associations With Self-reported Well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 93-108, August.
    9. Ethan McMahan & David Estes, 2011. "Measuring Lay Conceptions of Well-Being: The Beliefs About Well-Being Scale," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 267-287, April.
    10. Yukiko Uchida & Vinai Norasakkunkit & Shinobu Kitayama, 2004. "Cultural constructions of happiness: theory and emprical evidence," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 223-239, September.
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