Purdue University Graduate School
melissakovich-56FINALdissertation.pdf (11.76 MB)

Application of the PERMA Model of Well-being to Undergraduate Students

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posted on 2020-05-06, 14:14 authored by Melissa K KovichMelissa K Kovich

Seligman (2011) introduced well-being theory as a multidimensional model to increase and measure well-being. The PERMA model of well-being theory defines well-being in terms of five constructs: Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. Together, these five constructs are the foundation of individual and community well-being. The end goal of well-being theory is flourishing, which is defined as optimal well-being, where one is in the upper range of all five PERMA elements. The purpose of this study was to test whether all five PERMA elements of well-being could be derived from items in the 2018 Purdue Student Experience at a Research University (SERU) survey, thus providing support for the multidimensional model in context of undergraduate students at a research-intensive university. Using confirmatory factor analysis, all five PERMA constructs were supported with use of 32 items and demonstrated good model fit statistics. A second order PERMA well-being construct was built and demonstrated adequate model fit with RMSEA = 0.04. In the full PERMA model, all 32 items were significant at p < .05. In the full PERMA model, all five constructs were significant at p < .001. Accomplishment had the highest factor loading (0.76) and Meaning had the lowest factor loading (0.25). Results from this study provide initial support for use of well-being theory in context of undergraduate students.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Nursing

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Vicki Simpson

Additional Committee Member 2

Karen Foli

Additional Committee Member 3

Rhonda Phillips

Additional Committee Member 4

Zachary Hass