A look at Ryff's model of psychological well-being.

Jason Brien.

Well-being is the state of being comfortable, content, healthy or happy. Psychological well-being consists of positive relationships with others, personal mastery, autonomy, a feeling of purpose and meaning in life, and personal growth and development. Perceptions of psychological well-being are subjective and personal but well-being in general can be influenced by many factors. For example, Ryff’s model of psychological well-being has distinguished six core factors which contribute towards well-being; autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, and self-acceptance. 


High scorer - These people are independent and self-directed/self-determining. They do not succumb unconsciously and unwillingly to social pressures. They think before they act. They can monitor and regulate their emotions from within and they abide by personally derived standards, values and morals. 

Low scorer – These people are concerned by, and rely upon, the expectations and opinions of others. They seek constant reassurance and are easily pressured into conformity without resistance.

2.Environmental mastery;           

High scorer – These people have control and mastery over their environment. Environments refers to the outside world as a whole not environment as in the climate, earth, etc. They can control the ebb and flow of their lives and pick and choose environments which suit their needs and values.           

Low scorer- These people have little control and mastery. They get swept along wherever life takes them. They feel unable to influence or change their environment/surroundings. They may even lack insight into why certain environments are not conducive to well-being.

3.Personal growth;           

High scorer – These people seek continued development. They are very goal driven. They are opening to learning and opening to experiencing new things. Life is seen as opportunities for learning and growth. They seek self-improvement and self-actualisation.           

Low scorer – Uninterested in learning. Happy with what is even if that means stagnating and not growing. Won’t actively seek opportunities for learning and growth. Resit ant to change in beliefs or attitudes. Has a ‘why bother’ attitude.

4.Positive relations with others;          

 High scorer – Has secure, loving, warm, caring, productive, respectful and reciprocal relationships with others. These people desire and value intimacy and they have a strong regard for empathy. They value relationships for what they can add (not replace) in their life.           

Low scorer – These people don’t desire relationships, have few relationships or they have a history of toxic and failed relationships. They are unable to share intimacy, trust, affection or empathy. They are unwilling to compromise or negotiate in order to sustain relationships. 

5.Purpose in life;           

High scorer – Has goals and is driven towards healthy success. They regard life as precious and worth living and enjoying. They feel that life has meaning and purpose.           

Low scorer – Has no goals, aims or ambitions. Does not see the point in having objectives or aims in life. Lacks direction, purpose and meaning. Does not value life and sees life through the lens of entitlement.


High scorer – Is positive towards oneself. Treats the self with kindness and respect. Accepts strengths and weaknesses equally. Views oneself as having multiple healthy states. Does not hold onto regrets and accepts responsibility for past mistakes.           

Low scorer – Dissatisfied with self and life. These people don’t value themselves and so they treat themselves unkindly and allow others to do the same. They are haunted by their past and cannot move forward productively. They don’t acknowledge strengths and weakness equally. One is always more than the other.