Autotelic personality: Links with flow propensity, personal strengths, and psychopathology

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2015




The aim of the present doctoral dissertation is to infuse positive psychology research with clinical psychology for contributing to the development of a well balanced view of human psychic phenomenon, eventually leading to a shift in clinical research from disease models to a strength based one. For this purpose, life meaning, subjective happiness, curiosity, and flow propensity was investigated in terms of their associations with a newly developed positive constellation of autotelic personality traits. Besides, personal growth initiative as a set of strategies that lead to growth and transformation; and psychopathology as indicated by depression, trait anxiety, worry, and obsessions & compulsions were studied in terms of their associations with autotelic personality. Three sequential studies were carried out: (1) Swedish Flow Proneness Questionnaire, Subjective Happiness Scale, Meaning in Life Questionnaire, and Curiosity and Exploration Inventory- II were adapted to Turkish culture; (2) Autotelic personality inventory as a strength based personality inventory predicting flow and life engagement was developed; and (3) associations and conceptual models of personal strengths, autotelic personality, psychopathology, and personal growth initiative were tested. Three samples consisting of 652, 222, and 379 participants were recruited for the doctoral dissertation. The findings of the study proved the reliability and validity of four scales that are adapted to Turkish culture, besides the psychometric properties of the newly developed Autotelic Personality Inventory was found satisfactory. In terms of the associations between study variables, it was demonstrated that Autotelic personality was positively associated with presence of life meaning, curiosity, flow proneness and subjective happiness. Besides, non-autotelic personality constellation was shown to be positively associated with elevated depression, worry, trait anxiety, and obsessive compulsive symptomatology. Overall, the study revealed that autotelic personality is a multifactorial construct and the presence of autotelic properties is of preventive importance and predicts a better life.