Validated outcomes of focusing on living life aligned with your values

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Hugo Alberts 8 months, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #49595


    Hi all, I’m looking for research that outlines the positive outcomes one can expect to gain from understanding and living by their core values.

    Does anyone in this group know of anything?


  • #49598

    Hugo Alberts

    Hi Catherine,

    Good question!

    Most solid research on this topic is done in the context of intrinsic versus extrinsic values. See for instance:

    According to self-determination theory, well-being is strongly influenced by the type of values the individual lives by (Kasser, 2002; Kasser & Ryan, 1993; Sheldon & McGregor, 2000). In this view, so-called intrinsic values are more healthful than extrinsic values. Intrinsic values reflect the inherent human desire to grow and develop. Intrinsic values are freely chosen; the individual chooses to act in line with the value, rather than acting this way because another person or group expects him to do so. While an individual may hold the same values that are dominant in his culture, he retains a sense of willing ownership over these values; he does not simply comply to avoid negative evaluation or other social punishment (Hayes et al., 1999). Examples of intrinsic values include self-acceptance, a liation, and creativity.

    Extrinsic values, on the other hand, can best be described as a means to an end. An extrinsic value may reflect a desire to be appreciated, approved or accepted by others to avoid negative emotions or punishment or to meet certain standards. Whereas intrinsic values originate from the innate tendency to grow and develop (‘inside-out’ orientation), extrinsic values represent external indicators of worth (‘outside-in’ orientation”). Extrinsic values have been found to foster excessive ego involvement and social comparison (Kasser, 2002). Examples of extrinsic values include financial success, social popularity, and physical attractiveness.

    According to SDT, extrinsic values are best considered substitutes for basic needs that have gone unsatisfied. In this view, people adopt extrinsic values, such as fame, money, and power, as a way to compensate for lack of experienced need satisfaction (Deci, & Ryan, 2000; Ryan, Deci, Grolnick & La Guardia, 2006). In other words, people become motivated to pursue extrinsic values when one or several basic needs are unfulfilled. Several studies have supported this claim. For example, a study by Kasser, Ryan, Zax & Samero (1995) showed that children who were raised in an environment deprived of support and nurturance were more likely to pursue extrinsic, relative to intrinsic, values. Moreover, a study by Banerjee and Dittmar (2008) found that children who feel unaccepted by their peers (i.e., thwarting of relatedness needs) experience a stronger endorsement of materialistic values.

    Other studies also point out that value-based action can increase well-being. For instance, Gorusch, Arno & Bachelder (1976) found that individuals following a Value Clarification manipulation became less concerned about external influences but rather focused on intrinsically generated values. Value Clarification shows to influence purposefulness and a reduction of self-destructive behaviours (Clarke, 1974). Value Clarification also takes part in the context of other therapeutically approaches such as Acceptance-Commitment Therapy (ACT), which has amongst other things been shown to help clients suffering from depression, eating disorders and work-related stress (Hayes, Masuda, Bissett, Luoma & Guerrero, 2004).

    We are about to release a new teachable masterclass package on meaning and valued living. This package includes an extensive scientific handbook, covering a lot of scientific research in this field. Perhaps you will find it useful!

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    All the best,

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 4 weeks ago by  Hugo Alberts.

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