There has been growing interest in understanding the psychological and social-environmental factors that facilitate adaptive functioning in populations affected by ethnopolitical warfare. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that a brief measure incorporating local idioms of positive need fulfilment would predict functioning in a war-affected Sri Lankan population above and beyond psychopathology when controlling for demographic variables and current life stressors. A brief measure of positive need fulfillment was derived from qualitative data and administered to a sample of 163 Sri Lankans affected by the civil war. Positive need fulfillment was found to uniquely predict functioning after controlling for age, war-related life problems, and psychopathology as assessed by the Penn-RESIST-Peradeniya War Problems Questionnaire. These findings highlight the importance of both basic need support and the fostering of agency in addition to addressing mental health needs.