The formal identification of a autonomy, competence, and relatedness as basic psychological needs yields three advantages. First, the identification of these needs allows scholars to grabble with the fundamental question what our human nature looks like. The introduction of these psychological needs is congruent with the meta-theoretical assumption of a growth-oriented nature, while also recognizing that we have a vulnerable nature. While need satisfaction energizes pro-active, prosocial and growth-oriented inclinations, need frustration awakens our vulnerabilities for passivity, self-centeredness, and defensiveness.
Edward Deci and Richard Ryan later expanded on the early work differentiating between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and proposed three main intrinsic needs involved in self-determination. According to Deci and Ryan, three basic psychological needs motivate self-initiated behavior and specify essential nutrients for individual psychological health and well-being. These needs are said to be the universal and innate need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
One mini-theory of SDT includes basic psychological needs theory which proposes three basic psychological needs that must be satisfied to foster well-being and health. These three psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness are generally universal (i.e., apply across individuals and situations). However, some needs may be more salient than others at certain times and be expressed differently based on time, culture, or experience. SDT identifies three innate needs that, if satisfied, allow optimal function and growth:
Impersonal orientations come from failure to fulfill all three needs, which leads to poor functioning and ill-being. According to the self-determination theory, each individual has each of these orientations to some extent. This makes it possible to predict their psychological and behavioral outcomes. When needs are satisfied, it has been shown to improve vitality, life satisfaction, and positive affect. On the other hand, need frustration can lead to more negative outcomes, such as emotional exhaustion.
Murcia et al. looked at the influence of peers on enjoyment in exercise. Specifically, the researchers looked at the effect of motivational climate generated by peers on exercisers by analyzing data collected through questionnaires and rating scales. The assessment included evaluation of motivational climate, basic psychological needs satisfaction, levels of self-determination and self-regulation (amotivation, external, introjected, identified and intrinsic regulation) and also the assessment of the level of satisfaction and enjoyment in exercising.
Data analysis revealed that when peers are supportive and there is an emphasis on cooperation, effort, and personal improvement, the climate influences variables like basic psychological needs, motivation, and enjoyment. The task climate positively predicted the three basic psychological needs (competence, autonomy, and relatedness) and so positively predicted self-determined motivation. Task climate and the resulting self-determination were also found to positively influence the level of enjoyment that exercisers experienced during the activity.
Identified regulation was found to be more consistently associated with regular physical activity than other forms of autonomous motivation, such as intrinsic regulation, which may be triggered by pleasure derived from the activity itself. This may be explained by physical activity often relating to more mundane or repetitive actions. More recent studies suggest that different types of motivation regulate different intensities of physical activity, which may be context dependent. For example, higher frequency of vigorous physical activity was associated with autonomous motivation, but not with controlled motivation in a study in rural Uganda. In an urban disadvanteged South African population, however, an association between moderate physical activity and autonomous motivation was found, but not with vigorous physical activity. The latter study also found the association between the basic psychological needs and more autonomous forms of motivation to be different across different contexts.
Another area of interest for SDT researchers is the relationship between subjective vitality and self-regulation. Ryan and Deci define vitality as energy available to the self, either directly or indirectly, from basic psychological needs. This energy allows individuals to act autonomously.
Self-determination theory identifies a basic psychological need for autonomy as a central feature for understanding effective self-regulation and well-being. As adopting these services increases both individual and collective well-being, research has to delve more deeply into the origins of consumers' motivations. For this reason aim at augmenting the understanding of how different types of motivation determine consumers' intention to adopt transformative services. They examine whether Self-Determination Theory (SDT) can be of help in fostering more sustainable food choices by taking a closer look at the relationship between food-related types of motivation and different aspects of meat consumption, based on a survey among 1083 consumers in the Netherlands.
There has been considerable research on the topic of basic psychological needs, yet there is less attention on how to measure needs satisfaction. Most of the research has been conducted in various settings. The Self-determination website provides a variety of measures for use including measures to assess Basic Psychological needs. Fortunately, one of these settings is the workplace with an initial first step to generalize Self-determination Theory within organizations in other cultures (Deci et al., 2001). However, the authors point out that this scale still needs validation, but the preliminary results are positive.
There is evidence that the three basic psychological needs are positively related to work outcomes. A recent meta-analytic review of self-determination theory tested the unique contribution of each of the needs to psychological growth, internalization, and psychological well-being (Van den Broeck et al., 2016). In addition, they also tested the appropriateness of an overall need satisfaction measure and its relationship to the workplace outcomes. The meta-analysis included 99 studies with 199 distinct samples.
The three basic psychological needs also accounted for unique variance in workplace outcomes, such as effort, deviance behavior, absenteeism and task performance (creative and proactive performance). Overall, this meta-analysis provides support for the importance of the three needs in predicting workplace outcomes.
In conclusion, it is important for organizations to enhance basic psychological needs through providing interventions that allow employees to grow in autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The research provides support for the three-factor model and demonstrates that self-determination theory is a valid model for motivation.
Based on the empirical evidence for the importance of basic psychological needs, this CQ Dossier is assigned a Level 4 rating, (Based on a 1- 5 measurement scale). A level 4 is the second highest rating score for a dossier based on the evidence provided on the efficacy of basic psychological needs. To date, the research on the basic psychological needs has demonstrated the importance of this construct in the workplace. Future research needs to further verify the measurement of the three basic psychological needs in the workplace because the measure is still in its infancy.
Williams, G. C., Halvari, H., Niemiec, C. P., Sørebø, Ø., Olafsen, A. H., & Westbye, C. (2014). Managerial support for basic psychological needs, somatic symptom burden and work-related correlates: A self-determination theory perspective. Work & Stress, 28, 4, 404-419.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, people around the world are facing various challenges in maintaining their well-being, which can be compromised due to risk of illness and harsh measures of social distancing. As proposed by the Self-Determination Theory, basic psychological needs are essential nutrients of well-being. The aim of this study was to examine the role of basic psychological needs in well-being during the pandemic. A sequential mediation model was examined, that links positive and negative affectivity to well-being (satisfaction with life and general distress) through satisfaction and frustration of the basic psychological needs (for autonomy, competence, and relatedness). The study involved 965 participants (Mage = 29; 57% females) from Serbia. The Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction and Frustration scale, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale 21, and The Serbian Inventory of Affect based on the Panas-X were used. All the tested models were statistically significant. Controlling for age, gender, having children, health, employment, and marital status, direct effects in all models were highly significant, explaining up to 59% of criteria variance. The proportion of the explained variance was even higher when accounting for indirect effects. Sequential mediation models revealed that the indirect relationships between positive and negative affectivity and satisfaction with life and general distress were serially mediated by autonomy satisfaction, competence frustration, relatedness satisfaction, and relatedness frustration. This study raised an important question on how the disposition to experience more positive or negative emotions affects the change in subjective well-being. These results, coherent with the Self-Determination Theory postulates, add to the understanding of human functioning in the times of extraordinary circumstances during a pandemic, by suggesting that satisfaction and frustration of basic psychological needs might have a key role in obtaining optimal well-being. 59ce067264