A Cross-Cultural Study Testing the Universality of Basic Psychological Needs Theory across Different Academic Subjects

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  • Curtin University


Basic Psychological Needs Theory (BPNT) suggests that autonomy supportive teachers can promote the satisfaction of students’ three basic psychological needs (i.e., the needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness) and this is essential for optimal functioning and personal well-being. The role of need satisfaction as a determinant of well-being is understood to be invariant across contexts and cultures. The aim of this study was to test the invariance in the relationships between students’ perceptions of their teachers’ autonomy support and their psychological need satisfaction, enjoyment, concentration, and boredom across different school subjects (Maths, English and PE lessons) and across different cultures (England and Turkey). Questionnaires tapping the targeted variables in the three different lesson types were completed by students in schools in England and Turkey. Results from multilevel modelling analyses showed some support for the tenets of BPNT, albeit there were inconsistences between the strength of the hypothesised relationships on account of country and/or lesson type.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-365
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Issue number4
Early online date11 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018