A total of 540 undergraduate students (141 Males and 399 Females) from Western Sydney University

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Method

Participants

A total of 540 undergraduate students (141 Males and 399 Females) from Western Sydney University were recruited via convenience sampling and participated in a study investigating the effects of self-affirmation on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. The participants age ranged from 17 to 71 years, and a mean age of 21.30 years (SD = 5.84). Participation was completed voluntarily as part of an assessment task.

Materials and Apparatus

Hedonic Well-being. The Modified Differential Emotions Scale (Fredrickson, Tugade, Waugh, & Larkin, 2003) is a 20-item scale that asked participants to rate the degree to which they felt a variety of positive emotions (e.g., “I have felt interested, alert, curious”) and negative emotions (e.g., “I have felt scared, fearful, afraid”). Participants were asked to rate each item on a five-point Likert scale (1 = Never, 5 = Most of the time). A higher score indicated more hedonic well-being.

Eudaimonic Well-being. Participants completed an 18-item scale that measured meaning, relatedness, autonomy, flow, and competence. Sample items included “In the last seven days, I felt my choices were based on my true interests and values” and “In the last seven days, I felt close and connected with other people who are important to me”. Participants were asked to rate each item on a seven-point Likert scale (1 = Not at all, 7 = Very much). A higher score indicated higher levels of eudaimonic well-being.

The surveys were completed on the participant’s own personal electronic device using the Qualtrics Survey Platform. These personal electronic devices included, but were not limited to: computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Additionally, in the event that a participant did not have access to an electronic device then a pen and a printed paper version of the survey was provided.

Procedure

Before testing began, participants were given an experiment information sheet and consent form to read then electronically signed via ticking a check box and typing their full name. Following this, demographic information (i.e., sex and age) was recorded and then participants were tested at the start of their Psychology: Behavioural Science Week Two Tutorials. This initial testing involved completing a number of surveys that included measures of eudaimonic and hedonic well-being which constituted the baseline measures.

At the start of Psychology: Behavioural Science’s Week Three Tutorial, the participants were randomly assigned to either a self-affirmation (n = 257) or control (n = 284) condition depending on whether their student number ended with an even or odd number. The self-affirmation condition requested participants to choose an important value and to describe three or four experiences that demonstrated that value for at least eight minutes. The control condition requested participants to write about what they had done yesterday and to be as detail-orientated as possible, but try to leave out emotions, feelings or opinions for at least eight minutes. Following this, participants then underwent the same measures of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being that they had previously completed in Week Two. At the start of Psychology: Behavioural Science’s Week Four Tutorial, the participants were reallocated (using Week Three’s randomisation method) into the same condition as the one they were in for Week Three’s tutorial and then they repeated the same task again. Afterwards, the participants completed the same measures of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being that they had completed previously in Week Two and Three. The Unit Coordinator then analysed the data using SPSS version 22 (IBM Corp, 2013).

Results

An independent samples t-test was conducted on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. For hedonic well-being assumptions of normality and homogeneity of variance were met, and the t-test indicated a non-significant difference between the control and self-affirmation groups, t(539) = 0.30, p = 0.76. For eudaimonic well-being assumptions of normality and homogeneity of variance were met, and the t-test indicated a non-significant difference between the control and self-affirmation groups, t(539) = 0.36, p = 0.72. Descriptive statistics are given in Table 1.

Table 1

Mean Score on Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-being

  Control Self Affirmation
Type of Induction M SD M SD
Hedonic well-being 2.55 0.55 2.54 0.61
Eudaimonic well-being 84.78 18.27 84.19 20.05