Eudaimonia Print or save as PDF

How is it defined?

The core element of eudaimonia is having a sense of purpose in life which is accomplished by getting to know one’s true self, or ‘daimon’, and striving to be the best one can be. Eudaimonic well-being is attained through developing one’s talents and aptitudes through the pursuit of activities that are personally meaningful (Benson & Scales, 2009; Ryan & Deci, 2001; Waterman, 1993; Waterman et al., 2010). Essentially, an individual’s sense of purpose provides a framework for their life (Kashdan & McKnight, 2009). Eudaimonia is accomplished through goals, values, and beliefs that give life meaning and is tied to both identity formation and career identity (Waterman & Schwartz, 2013). For teachers, knowledge of the self is crucial for deriving meaning from their work (Kelchtermans & Vandenberghe, 1994).

The Learning Bar's Staff Survey framework is based on 13 core indicators designed to capture the key metrics of employee health and well-being. Together, these indicators support the development of a positive school climate.

Why is it important?

  • Eudaimonic well-being influences workplace actions including engaging in prosocial behaviors (Turban & Yan, 2016).

  • A strong sense of purpose is linked to feelings of satisfaction, motivation, and perseverance (Cartwright & Holmes, 2006).

  • Educators with a strong sense of purpose are more resilient and can maintain a higher level of performance over time (Gu & Day, 2007).

How do we measure it?

The OurSCHOOL Staff Survey includes eight items that focus on engagement in activities that are personally meaningful and that support an individual's sense of purpose. The results are reported as “the percentage of staff who are thriving”.


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Cartwright, S., & Holmes, N. (2006). The meaning of work: The challenge of regaining employee engagement and reducing cynicism. Human Resource Management Review, 16(2), 199-208.

Gu, Q., & Day, C. (2007). Teacher resilience: A necessary condition for effectiveness. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 1302-1316.

Kashdan, T. B., & McKnight, P. E. (2009). Origins of purpose in life: Refining our understanding of a life well lived. Psychological Topics, 18(2), 303-316.

Kelchtermans, G., & Vandenberghe, R. (1994). Teachers’ professional development: A biographical perspective. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 26(1), 45-62.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.

Turban, D. B., & Yan, W. (2016). Relationship of eudaimonia and hedonia with work outcomes. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 31(6), 1006-1020.

Waterman, A. S. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: Contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(4), 678-691.

Waterman, A. S., & Schwartz, S. J. (2013). Eudaimonic identity theory. In A. S. Waterman (Ed.), The best within us: Positive psychology perspectives on eudaimonia (pp. 99–118). American Psychological Association.

Waterman, A. S., Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., Ravert, R. D., Williams, M. K., Agocha, V. B., Yeong Kim, S., & Donnellan, M. B. (2010). The questionnaire for eudaimonic well-being: Psychometric properties, demographic comparisons, and evidence of validity. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(1), 41-61.