Research supports the above hypotheses. Indeed, harmonious passion for gambling has typically been found to be positively related mainly to positive affective experiences while gambling such as pleasure, fun, and enjoyment (see Mageau et al. 2005) and to be unrelated or even negatively related to pathological gambling (Philippe & Vallerand 2007; Ratelle et al. 2004; Skitch & Hodgins 2005; Vallerand et al. 2003, Study 4). Conversely, research has shown that obsessive passion for gambling is positively associated with negative emotions such as anxiety and guilt when playing as well as with rumination when prevented from gambling. 2004; Skitch & Hodgins 2005; Vallerand et al. 2003, Study 4).
At least three broad directions for future directions can be proposed
The above findings on the role of passion in gambling underscore the fact that the activity by itself does not explain all effects on psychological ill-being and that one’s passion for it matters. It would appear that while harmonious passion may prevent the experience of negative affect and psychological problems such as pathological gambling when engaging in a potentially problematic activity such as gambling, obsessive passion would appear to contribute to such negative experiences. However, a more systematic analysis of activity type (positive vs negative features) and passion types is needed in order to more firmly determine the role of each in psychological well and ill-being.
In the present paper, the role of passion for activities in sustainable psychological well-being was detailed. The DMP proposes the existence of two types of passion: harmonious and obsessive, which can be differentiated in terms of how the representation of the passionate activity has been internalized into one’s identity. Harmonious passion originates from an autonomous internalization of the activity into one’s identity and promotes a mindful and open form of activity engagement. Such engagement is hypothesized to lead to repeated positive affective experiences in the activity that spills over in one’s life in general that, in turn, facilitates sustainable psychological well-being while preventing the experience of negative affect, psychological conflict, and ill-being. Conversely, obsessive passion emanates from a controlled internalization and is hypothesized to minimize the experience of positive affect and psychological well-being and to even facilitate negative affect, conflict with other life activities, and psychological ill-being. Research supporting the above hypotheses was presented.
The first deals with the relative effects of different types of affective experiences in psychological well-being and the role of passion in these. Specifically, do different types of positive emotions (e.g., joy, pride, excitement) have the same impact on psychological well-being? Do other positive experiences such as flow also contribute to psychological well-being? Which one contributes the most (i.e., positive affect vs flow)? What is the role of passion in these various affective states? A second research direction that would appear important deals with the role of affective adaptation in psychological well-being. Research on affective adaptation (see Wilson & Gilbert 2008) has shown that certain factors (e.g., uncertainty) can ensure that positive affect is maintained longer. An interesting question becomes “Does positive affect longevity contributes to psychological well-being on top of positive affect intensity and frequency”. And if so, what is the role of harmonious passion in facilitating such sustained positive affectivity? Finally, a last research avenue pertains to the determinants of passion. Such research should attempt to identify the “best practices” or ways to facilitate the development of a harmonious passion (and prevent an obsessive passion) for a given activity, thereby leading to the experience of positive affect and, in turn, sustainable psychological well-being. Past research on the development of passion (Mageau et al. 2009) has shown that providing autonomy support (or choice) regarding which activity to choose sites as well as when and how to engage in it should be conducive to a harmonious passion for an activity to the extent that the latter is valued by the person and is consonant with aspects of the person’s identity. Research is needed in order to package these elements so that people can readily develop a harmonious passion and gain well-being benefits from activity engagement.