Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Melchert, Timothy P.

Second Advisor

Edwards, Lisa M.

Third Advisor

Griffin, Robert J.


Humanity has struggled to define the good life from, at very least, the beginning of recorded history. The last three decades have seen a major uptick in the amount of scholarly activities in this vein, with contemporary iterations falling under the auspices of well-being studies. These studies in the field of psychology, while abundant, have tended to align closely with one of a select few schools of thought while eschewing alternative approaches. Studies are produced at a dizzying rate, but are often limited in scope and in need of greater conceptual clarification. A promising integrative theoretical model, called the engine of well-being, was proposed by Jayawickreme and colleagues (2012), but it has yet to be examined empirically. The present study begins with a thorough review of the literature of well-being in psychology, including philosophical roots. Path analysis was employed, utilizing data from the second round of the Mid-Life in the United States (MIDUS 2) study, to empirically examine the theoretical engine model. The path analyses gave particular focus to integration of components of the prominent approaches and known correlates thereto with the intention of empirically validating the engine model as a dynamic platform for the study of human well-being. The MIDUS 2 data were found to support the engine model across numerous iterations and suggest that it may provide a sufficiently nuanced platform for the study of well-being.