Six Dimensions of Psychological Well-Being

Posted on January 10th, 2013

Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements:

  1. Many of my personal qualities trouble me enough that I wish I could change them.
  2. I feel isolated and frustrated in interpersonal relationships.
  3. When making important decisions, I rely on the judgments of others.
  4. Often I am unable to change or improve my circumstances.
  5. My life lacks meaning.
  6. I have a sense of personal stagnation that often leaves me bored.

These six statements represent psychological well-being:1

  • Self-acceptance - positive evaluations of oneself;
  • Positive interpersonal relations - close, warm relationships with others;
  • Autonomy - self-determination;
  • Environmental mastery - sense of effectiveness in mastering circumstances and challenges;
  • Purpose in life - a sense of meaning that gives one’s life a sense of direction and purpose;
  • Personal growth - improvement and growth.

Your response on each of these dimensions reflects your self-functioning and psychological well-being. To be well psychologically is to possess positive self-regard, positive relationships, autonomy, mastery, purpose, and a trajectory of growth.Your answers to these questions reveal how well or how poorly you are doing in maintaining your well-being.

It is not enough to only do well in one of the areas of well-being. It is important to maintain balance in all of the areas of your well-being.Here are the Six Dimensions of Psychological Well-Being that you can use to see how well you are doing:

Self-Acceptance

High scorer: possesses a positive attitude toward the self; acknowledges and accepts multiple aspects of self, including good and bad qualities; feels positive about the past.    Low scorer: feels dissatisfied with self; is disappointed with what has occurred in past life; is troubled about certain qualities; wishes to be different than what he or she is.    Positive Relations with Others

High scorer: has warm, satisfying, trusting relationships with others; is concerned about the welfare of others; capable of strong empathy, affection, and intimacy; understands give-and-take of human relationships.    Low scorer: has few close, trusting relationships with others; finds it difficult to be warm, open, and concerned about others; is isolated and frustrated in interpersonal relationships; is not willing to make compromises; sustain important ties with others. 

Autonomy

High scorer: is self-determining; is able to resist social pressures to think and act in certain ways; regulates behavior from within; evaluates self by personal standards.    Low scorer: is concerned about the expectations and evaluations of others; relies on judgments of others to make important decisions; conforms to social pressures to think and act in certain ways. 

Environmental Mastery

High scorer: has a sense of mastery and competence in managing the environment; controls complex array of external activities; makes effective use of surrounding opportunities; is able to choose or create contexts suitable to personal needs and values.    Low scorer: has difficulty managing everyday affairs; feels unable to change or improve surrounding context; is unaware of surrounding opportunities; lacks sense of control over external world. 

Purpose in Life

High scorer: has goals in life and a sense of directedness; feels there is meaning to present and past life; holds beliefs that give life purpose; has aims and objectives for living.    Low scorer: lacks a sense of meaning in life; has few goals or aims; lacks a sense of direction; does not see purpose in the past; has no outlooks or beliefs that give life meaning. 

Personal Growth

High scorer: has a feeling of continued development; sees self as growing and expanding; is open to new experiences; has sense of realizing his or her potential; sees improvement in self and behavior over time; is changing in ways that reflect more self-knowledge and effectiveness.    Low scorer: has a sense of personal stagnation; lacks sense of improvement or expansion over time; feels bored and uninterested with life; feels unable to develop new attitudes or behaviors. 


  1. Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. 

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