The findings reported in this section lead to some important conclusions: First, harmonious passion would appear to positively contribute to psychological well-being and to protect against psychological ill-being. Second, obsessive passion would appear to predict psychological ill-being while being either negatively or unrelated to psychological well-being. Third, it appears that being non passionate leads to a small decrease in psychological well-being. Thus, it appears that the same (intentional) activity may or may not contribute to one’s psychological well-being depending on the quality of one’s engagement in the activity. Finally, research reveals that these findings apply to men and women across the life span and on both hedonic and eudaimonic measures of psychological well-being.
Because it entails an optimal form of activity engagement, harmonious passion predicts positive well-being, while obsessive passion and its less adaptive form of defensive engagement does not
If passion affects psychological well-being and ill-being, then what are the processes mediating such effects? In other words, how do harmonious and obsessive passion affect psychological well-being? As indicated previously, the DMP posits that these two types of passion orient the person to engage in the activity in different fashions leading to different affective experiences that if experienced on a repeated basis can facilitate different effects on psychological well-being and ill-being. With harmonious passion, engagement is made in such a way that one engages in the activity with an openness to experience the event in a mindful non defensive manner (Brown et al. 2007; Hodgins & Knee 2002). Such a state allows the person to derive positive affect from positive events without dwelling on the negative outcomes and its potential negative effects on one’s self and well-being. Thus, harmonious passion leads to the experience of positive affect and protects against negative affect (see Philippe et al. 2010; Vallerand 2010). Because passionate activities are generally engaged in several hours each week over years, such emotional states are experienced in a repeated, on-going, fashion and thus are sustained over time (Mageau & Miquelon 2007; Vallerand et al. 2003, Study 2). In line with Fredrickson and colleagues (Garland et al. 2010), it is hypothesized that sustained positive affective states create a positive upward spiral where attentional broadening, positive reappraisal of events, and increased thought repertoire all contribute to each other thereby promoting psychological well-being.
Furthermore because they prevent the occurrence of negative emotional states, positive emotions also protect against the downward spirals of psychological ill-being
On the other hand, with obsessive passion engagement is more defensive and rigid, preventing one from fully experiencing positive affect and orienting one to mainly experience negative affect (stress, anxiety). Furthermore, because engagement is often perceived as outside of one’s control, one may therefore engage in the activity when one should not. Consequently, some negative affect such as guilt and shame may be experienced following task engagement. Finally, because of the high levels of rigidity involved in obsessive passion, not being able to engage in the passionate activity may lead a person to experience some negative affective outcomes (e.g., frustration) when engaged in other life activities. Thus, even if some positive affect were to be experienced with obsessive passion, the overall emotional state both during and after activity engagement as well as when prevented from engaging in the passionate activity , Study 1). Because the passionate activity is typically engaged in for several hours each week, such negative emotional and conflicted states are sustained over time and depending on their intensity may prevent the experience of the upward spiral of psychological well-being depicted above or worse, set in motion a downward spiral of ill-being characterized by stress appraisal, attentional narrowing, further experiences of negative emotions, and eventually psychological ill-being.