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Spotlight on eudaimonia and depression. A systematic review of the literature over the past 5 years

Authors Ruini C, Cesetti G

Received 19 April 2019

Accepted for publication 7 August 2019

Published 30 August 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 767—792


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Mei-chun Cheung

Chiara Ruini, Giulia Cesetti

Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Correspondence: Chiara Ruini
Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Viale Berti pichat 5, Bologna 40127, Italy
Tel +39 051 209 1817
Fax +39 05 124 3086

Background and aim: Recent investigations pointed out to the important role of well-being in influencing physical and mental health, with robust findings for the dimension of depression. The aim of this systematic review is to provide an updated summary of articles focused on eudaimonia and depression, including psychosocial interventions that addressed both issues.
Method: The literature search was performed by entering the keywords: “eudaimonia” OR “eudaimonic well-being (EWB)” and “depression” and by limiting to “journal article” and to the English language. To be included in this, review articles had to present at least one EWB measure and one depression measure, and had to investigate young and adult populations, including populations with mental health disorders. Articles were excluded if they were published before 2014.
Results: Thirty-four articles were included, with a total of 81,987 participants. About the majority of participants were recruited in two twin studies, followed by college students, and by adults belonging to the general and clinical populations. Sixteen different instruments assessed eudaimonia, being Ryff’s psychological well-being scale the most frequently used. The most used instrument for assessing depression was the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, followed by Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. The studies confirmed the robust, inverse correlation between eudaimonia and depression, which was only partially explained by genetic common factors and which was mediated by other factors, as self-compassion, personality traits, and defense mechanisms. Various interventions were found to be effective both in promoting eudaimonia and in addressing depression, ranging from cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness, to positive psychotherapy.
Conclusion: Clinicians, counselors, and practitioners can select different strategies to promote EWB and to address depression. The findings also suggest the need for a larger consensus on the definition of eudaimonia and on the specific measure(s) to evaluate it in different populations and in different life stages.

Keywords: eudaimonia, depression, well-being, recovery, adulthood, mental health

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