Hedonic and eudaimonic motives toward university studies: How they relate to each other and to well-being derived from school

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Arthur Braaten
Veronika Huta
Lorrain Tyrany
Andrew Thompson


Eudaimonic motives (seeking growth, authenticity, excellence, meaning), hedonic enjoyment motives (seeking pleasure, fun), and hedonic comfort motives (seeking relaxation, ease) are major ways people pursue well-being. These motives have been primarily studied at the global level and hedonic enjoyment and hedonic comfort motives are often combined. To date, no studies have examined these well-being motives for the academic context. The aim of this research was to examine the factor structure of the Hedonic and Eudaimonic Motives for Activities scale (HEMA; Huta & Ryan, 2010) in the academic context, the intercorrelations between these motives in this context, and the relationship between these motives and well-being derived from academic studies. In a sample of undergraduate students (n = 405) principal components analysis and confirmatory factor analysis of the HEMA showed that a three-factor model was a better fit than a two-factor model in the academic context. The correlations between hedonic enjoyment motives and hedonic comfort motives were also not too large, suggesting that they are different concepts in the academic context. Consistently, both eudaimonic and hedonic enjoyment motives positively related to well-being experiences measured, whereas hedonic comfort motives did not. Eudaimonic motives also had significantly stronger relationships with experiences of school satisfaction, meaning, elevation, self-connectedness, and interest at school compared to hedonic enjoyment motives. These studies indicate that it is important to distinguish between eudaimonic, hedonic enjoyment, and hedonic comfort motives in the academic context and that they have different relationships to well-being derived from school.

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