An exploratory study of friendship characteristics and their relations with hedonic and eudaimonic well-being

Austen R. Anderson, Blaine Fowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Friendships are an important source of happiness, well-being, physical health, and longevity. Researchers have often linked unidimensional friendship quality to life satisfaction and positive affect, which are hedonic forms of well-being. Aristotle presented an expanded view of friendship with three general characteristics: Utility, Pleasure, and Virtue. Following his theory, we expected Pleasure and Utility characteristics to be primarily related to hedonic well-being (HWB). In contrast, we expected Virtue characteristics to be more strongly related to eudaimonic well-being (EWB), which includes meaning, personal growth, and positive relationships in this study. This exploratory study assessed Aristotle’s theory about friendship and well-being with 375 participants. Two exploratory structural equation models were tested. There was an indirect relationship between Utility characteristics and HWB through Help Received. A friend’s Virtue characteristics had an indirect relationship with EWB through the reliability of the friendship. These findings indicate that friendship characteristics related to utility and virtue friendships appear to have differential implications for understanding the role of friends in happiness and flourishing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Aristotle
  • companionship
  • eudaimonia
  • eudaimonic well-being
  • friendships
  • hedonic well-being
  • Virtue
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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