CHAPTER 5On the Role of Passion in Optimal Functioning: A Multidimensional Perspective

Robert J. Vallerand and Virginie Paquette*

Department of Psychology, University of Québec in Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada


This chapter presents passion as one of the key elements helping individuals reach their potential. It first defines what “reaching one’s potential” is using a multidimensional perspective called Optimal Functioning in Society (OFIS). According to this perspective, optimal functioning implies high levels of psychological well‐being, physical health, positive relationships, high performance in one’s main field of endeavor, and contributing to one’s community or society at large. The next sections introduce the concept of passion and the predominant theory on passion, the dualistic model of passion (DMP). This model defines passion as a strong inclination for an important, meaningful, and self‐defining activity in which one invests time and energy. It posits that there are two types of passion (i.e., harmonious and obsessive) which, given their specific characteristics, entail different consequences in people’s life. The fourth section reviews research examining the role of passion in the five dimensions that constitute OFIS. It shows that even if passion is important to one’s life, the two types of passion do not equally contribute to OFIS. Overall, harmonious passion leads to more adaptive consequences than obsessive passion. Finally, the last section offers ...

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