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Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 232–241 | Cite as

The path from intrinsic aspirations to subjective well-being is mediated by changes in basic psychological need satisfaction and autonomous motivation: A large prospective test

  • Nora H. HopeEmail author
  • Anne C. Holding
  • Jérémie Verner-Filion
  • Kennon M. Sheldon
  • Richard Koestner
Original Paper

Abstract

The present study aimed to test the goal contents theory (Ryan and Deci, Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness, Guildford, New York, 2017a) proposal that prioritizing intrinsic aspirations over extrinsic aspirations leads to enhanced well-being through greater satisfaction of basic psychological needs and more autonomous self-regulation. By pooling four prospective studies with an identical five-wave design, we evaluated the impact of aspirations on changes in need satisfaction, goal motivation, and well-being over a school year in a sample of over 1400 university students. Cross-lagged, structural equation modelling (SEM) analyses revealed that relative intrinsic aspirations at baseline predicted experiencing greater need satisfaction, increased autonomous goal motivation, and improved well-being over time. The discussion highlights the value of exploring dynamic relations among the central constructs in self-determination theory.

Keywords

Self-determination theory Autonomous motivation Intrinsic aspirations Values Basic psychological need satisfaction 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Work on this manuscript was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award (201511MFE-358664-186305) to the first author, a grant by the Russian Academic Excellence Project (5-100) to the fourth author, as well as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (435-2014-20463) and Fonds de Recherche du Québec-Société et Culture (2017-SE-196443) grant to the last author.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of Psychological Sciences, University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Higher School of EconomicsNational Research UniversityMoscowRussia

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