Subjective well-being in dentists: the role of intrinsic aspirations

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To take a motivational approach, testing an idea derived from self-determination theory (SDT) that the pursuit of intrinsic life and professional aspirations is associated with enhanced subjective well-being.


A cross-sectional survey of a cluster sample of 583 dentists in England provided data on the subjective importance of their intrinsic and extrinsic aspirations and their perceived likelihood of achieving those aspirations. The dependent variable was a four-domain measure of subjective well-being.


Controlling measures of core self-evaluations and trait emotional intelligence, the perceived importance and likelihood of achieving intrinsic aspirations were uniquely related to positive affect; the perceived likelihood of achieving intrinsic aspirations was uniquely related to job and life satisfaction and positive affect, and the perceived likelihood of achieving extrinsic aspirations was uniquely related to life satisfaction. No aspiration variables uniquely predicted negative affect.


These findings lend support to self-determination theory and provide a platform for the future development of interventions that can promote and maintain well-being in dentists.

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