Eudaimonic and hedonic orientations in Physical Education and their relation with motivation and wellness

Behzad Behzadnia * and Richard M. Ryan **/***

(*) Department of Motor Behavior, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran
(**) Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University, North Sydney, NSW, Australia
(***) Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA

Two main ways in which people seek fulfillment are through hedonia (seeking pleasure, comfort) and eudaimonia (seeking growth, excellence, virtue). Past research on hedonic and eudaimonic orientations has largely focused on these constructs as traits, rather than their pursuit within specific life contexts, and much of the research has been in North American contexts. In this research, we translated the HEMA, a measure of these orientations (Huta & Ryan, 2010), into Persian, inquiring about hedonic and eudaimonic orientations in the physical education (PE) domain and their links with both well-being and motivation within an Iranian sample. EFA and CFA of the Persian Physical Education HEMA indicated three factors: eudaimonic, hedonic pleasure, and hedonic comfort orientations. In the PE context we found that eudaimonia related to more life satisfaction, meaning and vitality, whereas hedonia (both subscales) related to carefreeness and elevation, but also to higher negative affect. Eudaimonic orientation for PE was linked with intrinsic and identified motivation but also with introjection; both hedonia subscales were linked with external regulation. Findings suggest that a eudaimonic orientation may better fit with PE as offered, rather than a hedonic focus.

Keywords: Eudaimonia; Hedonism; Well-being; Self-determination theory; Physical education