Status inequalities, perceived discrimination, and eudaimonic well-being: Do the challenges of minority life hone purpose and growth?

Carol D. Ryff, Corey L.M. Keyes, Diane L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Considerable prior research has investigated links between racial/ethnic status and diverse aspects of mental functioning (e.g. psychological disorders, quality of life, self-esteem), but little work has probed the connections between minority status and eudaimonic well-being. Derived from existential and humanistic perspectives, eudaimonia describes engagement in life challenges and is operationalized with assessments of purpose in life, personal growth, autonomy, environmental mastery, self-acceptance, and positive relations with others. Using Midlife in the United States (MIDUS), a national survey of Americans aged 25-74, plus city-specific samples of African Americans in New York City and Mexican Americans in Chicago, minority status was found to be a positive predictor of eudaimonic well-being, underscoring themes of psychological strength in the face of race-related adversity. Perceived discrimination was found to be a negative predictor of eudaimonic well-being, although such effects were gender-specific: it was women, both majority and minority, with high levels of discrimination in their daily lives whose sense of growth, mastery, autonomy, and self-acceptance was compromised.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-291
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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