Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 893–910 | Cite as

University Students’ Subjective Well-being: The Role of Autonomy Support from Parents, Friends, and the Romantic Partner

  • Catherine F. Ratelle
  • Karine Simard
  • Frédéric Guay
Research Paper


This study investigated the relations between perceived autonomy support from three significant sources (parents, friends, and the romantic partner) and university students’ subjective well-being (SWB) using two approaches: a variable-centered and person-centered approach. Participants were 256 university students (191 women, 65 men) involved in a romantic relationship. Results from both approaches revealed that students’ perception that significant individuals support their autonomy predicted higher levels of SWB. Furthermore, results from a person-centered approach suggested that students reported the highest levels of SWB when all sources were perceived to be highly autonomy supportive. Together, these findings support a sensitization process of need satisfaction. Implications for SWB and self-determination theory are discussed.


University students Subjective well-being Autonomy support Parents Friends Romantic partner 



We thank all the participants for agreeing to take part in this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine F. Ratelle
    • 1
  • Karine Simard
    • 1
  • Frédéric Guay
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculté des Sciences de l’ÉducationUniversité LavalQuébecCanada

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