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Int Rev Econ. 2017 Jun;64(2):159-178. doi: 10.1007/s12232-017-0277-4. Epub 2017 Mar 30.

Eudaimonic well-being, inequality, and health: Recent findings and future directions.

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Institute on Aging/Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1300 University Ave., 2245 MSC, Madison, WI 53706,.


The theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of a eudaimonic model of well-being are examined and its empirical translation into distinct dimensions of well-being is described. Empirical findings have documented aging declines in eudaimonic well-being, but there is considerable variability within age groups. Among older adults who remain purposefully engaged, health benefits (reduced morbidity, extended longevity) have been documented. Eudaimonic well-being also appears to offer a protective buffer against increased health risk among the educationally disadvantaged. Neural and genetic mechanisms that may underlie eudaimonic influences on health are briefly noted, and interventions designed to promote eudaimonic well-being are sketched. Needed future research directions include addressing problems of unjust societies wherein greed among privileged elites may be a force compromising the eudaimonic well-being of those less privileged. Alternatively, and more positive in focus, is the need to better understand the role of the arts, broadly defined, in promoting eudaimonic well-being across all segments of society.


aging; eudaimonic well-being; inequality; interventions; neural and genetic mechanisms; the arts; unjust societies

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