It's Not Just the Amount That Counts: Balanced Need Satisfaction Also Affects Well-Being

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Abstract

The basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness have been found to have unique additive effects on psychological well-being (see E. L. Deci & R. M. Ryan, 2000). In the present study, the authors extended these findings by examining whether the balance in the satisfaction of these 3 needs is also important. The results of 4 studies showed that people who experienced balanced need satisfaction reported higher well-being than those with the same sum score who reported greater variability in need satisfaction. This finding emerged for multiple measures of needs and adjustment and was independent of neuroticism. Moreover, results were obtained consistently across concurrent, prospective, daily diary, and observer-report study designs. Discussion focuses on the psychological meaning and functional implications of balanced need satisfaction.

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