Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 745–766 | Cite as

Does Psychological Need Satisfaction Matter When Environmental or Financial Safety are at Risk?

  • Beiwen ChenEmail author
  • Jasper Van AsscheEmail author
  • Maarten Vansteenkiste
  • Bart Soenens
  • Wim Beyers
Research Paper


Grounded in self-determination theory, the present study addressed the question whether the relation between satisfaction of the psychological needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy and well-being would be constrained by satisfaction of the need for safety. In Study 1, we investigated environmental safety in a sample of young adults (N = 224) in South Africa, a country known for its low public safety. In Study 2, we focused on financial safety within a socio-economically deprived adult Chinese sample (N = 357). Although safety satisfaction yielded a positive relation to well-being in both studies, satisfaction of the psychological needs contributed to well-being above and beyond safety satisfaction and its contribution was not dependent upon the level of safety satisfaction. Further, across both studies, individuals high in safety satisfaction desired less psychological need satisfaction. Supplementary analyses in Study 2 indicated that whereas financial safety yielded a positive relation to well-being, materialism yielded a negative association. Together, these results point to the important role of basic psychological need satisfaction beyond safety satisfaction in the prediction of well-being.


Safety Basic psychological need satisfaction Need desire Well-being Self-determination theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GhentBelgium

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