The present study sought to examine: (1) how the components of authenticity (i.e., authentic living, self-alienation, accepting external influence) relate to one another at between- and within-person levels of analysis; (2) how the authenticity facets relate to meaning in life (i.e., purpose, comprehension, mattering) and life satisfaction at these levels of analysis; and (3) whether these relationships persist when controlling for affect and self-esteem.
Canadian undergraduates (N = 203) completed a trait questionnaire and end-of-day reports on these constructs for two weeks (n = 2335).
At between- and within-person levels, authentic living was negatively associated with self-alienation and accepting external influence, while the latter two facets were positively associated. Authentic living was positively related to well-being and predicted greater well-being the following day. Alternatively, self-alienation and accepting external influence were negatively related to well-being, and self-alienation predicted lower well-being the following day. Relationships involving authentic living and self-alienation were more robust than those involving accepting external influence.
Extending research on authenticity beyond between-person relationships, our findings show that daily states of authenticity predict well-being in nuanced ways, depending on the facet of authenticity. This highlights the importance of distinguishing levels of analyses and facets of authenticity.