The majority of psychology research in the past has focused on psychoanalysis and behaviorism in studying mental illness, maladaptive behaviour, and therapeutic treatments for these issues, while in contrast the humanistic approach seeks a holistic view on individuals that focuses on self-awareness and mindfulness to motivate an individual’s inherent drive for self-actualization, or the realization or fulfillment of one’s full potential.
The aim of positive psychology is flourishing, feelings of authentic happiness, fulfillment, and functioning effectively at a high level of mental well-being and it focuses on building and nurturing the most positive qualities of an individual (Huppert, 2009a, b; Keyes, 2002; Ryff & Singer 1998; Seligman, 2011). The clothing we wear and the experiences we have wearing our clothing implicitly interacts with our moods, emotions, thoughts, attitudes, behaviour, and self-concept.
There is only one empirical study conducted in the U.K. that has explicitly examined the connection between fashion and positive psychology (Masuch & Hefferon, 2014) and the relation of hedonic and eudemonic wellbeing to how women experience fashion. Through their grounded theory analysis, researchers identified clothing strategies women use to negotiate selfhood, accept their body, cope with mood, with all of these factors working together to manage their everyday well-being.
Hedonic wellbeing, based on the notion of subjective well-being, can briefly be described as the immediate FASHION AND POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY: INTERACTIONS BETWEEN CLOTHING, MOOD, SELF-CONCEPT, AND WELL-BEING 2 moments of happiness and avoidance of pain, with high levels of positive affect, low levels of negative affect, and high levels of life satisfaction (Ryan & Deci, 2001).
Eudemonic well-being can briefly be described the factors that contribute to personal growth and development, such as self-actualization, the concept of becoming a fully functioning person (Ryan & Deci, 2001).
Another study that has built on these ideas is an master’s thesis also from the UK that researched the relationships between clothing choices and well-being to determine how fashion, mediated by identity, positively impacts the happiness of the wearer (Smith, 2017b).
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