Adaptation and Validation of the French Psychological Need Frustration Scale for Older Adults

  • Charlotte Vanhove-MeriauxEmail author
  • Guillaume Martinent
  • Claude Ferrand


This study aimed to demonstrate a significant distinction between basic psychological need frustration (BPNF) and satisfaction (BPNS) in older people. To that end, two studies were conducted. Study 1a tested the score validity and reliability of the French psychological need frustration scale for older adults (PNFS-OA) to measure BPNF for autonomy, competence and relatedness. This study involved 476 older French adults (234 women and 242 men; Mage = 75.99 years, SD = 11.7, age range = 60–98 years) and the results support the factorial validity and reliability of the PNFS-OA scores. Study 1b then examined the relationships between BPNF and a range of selected outcomes (i.e., personal growth, purpose in life, vitality, self-esteem, positive and negative affective states and depressive symptoms) controlling for BPNS. This second study involved 154 older French adults living at home (86 women and 68 men; Mage = 73.36, SD = 7.07, age range: 65–95 years). Results showed that BPNF not only made a significant contribution to the prediction of depressive symptoms (indicator of ill-being) over and above BPNS but also contributed significantly to the prediction of some indicators of well-being over and above BPNS (i.e., purpose in life and self-esteem). These results question the role of the participants’ socio-contextual environment, which would not only be a supportive but also a controlling environment for the BPN. As a whole, BPNS and BPNF provide an interesting bridge connecting both positive and pathological aspects of ageing.


Self-determination theory Need frustration Need satisfaction Older people 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict Interest

The authors declare no conflict interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)

The study was approved by the institutional review board of the University of Tours (CERNI-TP, 2015-02-03). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the current ethical amendments or comparable ethical standards.


  1. Altintas, E., & Guerrien, A. (2014). Profil motivationnel et bien-être psychologique dans l’âge avancé. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement, 46, 95–106. Scholar
  2. Baard, P. P., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2004). Intrinsic need satisfaction : A motivational basis of performance and well-being in two work settings. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34(10), 2045–2068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartholomew, K. J., Ntoumanis, N., Ryan, R. M., & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C. (2011a). Psychological need thwarting in the sport context: Assessing the darker sides of athletic experience. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 33, 75–102. Scholar
  4. Bartholomew, K. J., Ntoumanis, N., Ryan, R. M., Bosch, J. A., & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C. (2011b). Self-determination theory and diminished functioning: The role of interpersonal control and psychological need thwarting. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 1459–1473. Scholar
  5. Bartholomew, K. J., Ntoumanis, N., Cuevas, R., & Lonsdale, C. (2014). Job pressure and ill-health in physical education teachers: The mediating role of psychological need thwarting. Teaching and Teacher Education, 37, 101–107. Scholar
  6. Bourque, P., Blanchard, L., & Vézina, J. (1990). Etude psychométrique de l’échelle de dépression gériatrique [Psychometric study of geriatric depression scale]. Canadian Journal on Aging, 9, 348–355. Scholar
  7. Chen, F. F. (2007). Sensitivity of goodness of fit indexes to lack of measurement invariance. In Structural equation modeling (Vol. 14, pp. 464–504). Scholar
  8. Chen, B., Assche, J. V., Vanskeenkiste, M., Soenens, B., & Beyers, W. (2015). Does psychological need satisfaction matter when environmental of financial safety are at risk? Journal of Happiness Studies, 16, 745–766. Scholar
  9. Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. (1995). Constructing validity: Basic issues in objective scale development. Psychological Assessment, 7, 309–319. Scholar
  10. Costa, S., Ntoumanis, N., & Bartholomew, K. J. (2014). Predicting the brighter and darker sides of interpersonal relationships: Does psychological need thwarting matter? Motivation and Emotion, 39, 11–24. Scholar
  11. Cuevas, R., Sánchez-Oliva, D., Bartholomew, K. J., Ntoumanis, N., & García-Calvo, T. (2015). Adaptation and validation of the psychological need thwarting scale in Spanish physical education teachers. Spanish Journal of Psychology, 18, E53. Scholar
  12. Custers, A. F. J., Westerhof, G. J., Kuin, Y., Gerritsen, D. L., & Riksen-Walraven, M. (2010). Need fulfillment in caring relationships: Its relations with well-being of residents in somatic nursing homes. Aging and Mental Health, 14, 731–739. Scholar
  13. Custers, A. F. J., Westerhof, G. J., Kuin, Y., Gerritsen, D. L., & Riksen-Walraven, M. (2012). Relatedness, autonomy, and competence in the caring relationship: The perspective of nursing home residents. Journal of Aging Studies, 26, 319–326. Scholar
  14. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York, NY: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227–268. Scholar
  16. Diener, E., Lucas, R. E., & Oishi, S. (2002) Subjective well-being. The science of happiness and life satisfaction. In C. R. Snyder & S. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 463–473).Google Scholar
  17. Ferrand, C., Martinent, G., & Durmaz, N. (2014). Psychological need satisfaction and well-being in adults aged 80years and older living in residential homes: Using a self-determination theory perspective. Journal of Aging Studies, 30, 104–111. Scholar
  18. Ferrand, C., Martinent, G., & Charry, A. (2015). Satisfaction of basic psychological needs, depressive symptoms and apathy among hospitalized elderly. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 47, 59–67. Scholar
  19. Gillet, N., Fouquereau, E., Lequeurre, J., Bigot, L., & Mokounokolo, R. (2012). Validation d’une échelle de frustration des besoins psychologiques au travail (EFBPT) [Validation of a scale for measuring psychological need thwarting at work (EFBPT)]. Psychologie du Travail et des Organisations, 18(4), 328–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gregorich, S. E. (2006). Do self-report instruments allow meaningful comparisons across diverse population groups? Testing measurement invariance using the confirmatory factor analysis framework. In Medical Care (Vol. 44, pp. S78–S94). Scholar
  21. Haerens, L., Aelterman, N., Vansteenkiste, M., Soenens, B., Van Petegem, S. (2015). Do perceived autonomy-supportive and controlling teaching relate to physical education students' motivational experiences through unique pathways? Distinguishing between the bright and dark side of motivation. Psychology of sport and exercise, 16, 26–36.Google Scholar
  22. Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., & Anderson, R. E. (2010). Multivariate data analysis (7th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  23. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55. Scholar
  24. Huta, V., & Ryan, R. M. (2010). Pursuing pleasure or virtue: The differential and overlapping well-being benefits of hedonic and eudaimonic motives. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 735–762. Scholar
  25. Jang, H., Kim, E. J., & Reeve, J. (2016). Why students become more engaged or more disengaged during the semester: A self-determination theory dual-process model. Learning and Instruction, 43, 27–38. Scholar
  26. Jöreskog, K. G., & Sörbom, D. (1993) LISREL 8: Structural equation modeling with the SIMPLIS command language. Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
  27. Lapierre, S., & Desrochers, C. (1997) Traduction et validation des Échelles de bien-être psychologique de Ryff. Manuscrit,Quebec, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.Google Scholar
  28. Li, C., Wang, C. K. J., Pyun, D. Y., & Kee, Y. H. (2013). Relationships between self-determined motivation and burnout among athletes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercice, 14, 692–700. Scholar
  29. MacCallum, R. C., & Austin, J. T. (2000). Applications of structural equation modelling in psychological research. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 201–226. Scholar
  30. Martinent, G., Guillet-Descas, E., & Moiret, S. (2015). Reliability and validity evidence for the French psychological need thwarting scale (PNTS) scores: Significance of a distinction between thwarting and satisfaction of basic psychological needs. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 20, 29–39. Scholar
  31. McAuley, E., Duncan, T., & Tammen, V. V. (1989). Psychometric properties of the intrinsic motivation inventory in a competitive sport setting: A confirmatory factor analysis. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 60, 48–58. Scholar
  32. Messick, S. (1995). Validity of psychological assessment: Validation of inferences from persons’ responses and performances as scientific inquiry into score meaning. American Psychologist., 50, 741–749. Scholar
  33. Ng, J.Y.Y., Ntoumanis, N., Thogersen-Ntoumani, C., Stott, K., Hindle, L. (2013). Predicting psychological needs and well-being of individuals engaging in weight management: the role of important others. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being, 5, 291–310.Google Scholar
  34. Nicolas, M., Martinent, G., & Campo, M. (2014). Evaluation of the psychometric properties of a modified positive and negative affect schedule including a direction scale (PANAS-D) among French athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15, 227–237. Scholar
  35. Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  36. Oishi, S., Diener, E., & Lucas, R. E. (2007). The optimum level of well-being : Can people be too happy ? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2, 346–360. Scholar
  37. Richer, F., & Vallerand, R. J. (1998) Construction et validation de l’échelle du sentiment d’appartenance sociale (ÉSAS) [construction and validation of the ÉSAS: The relatedness feelings scale]. European Review of Applied Psychology.Google Scholar
  38. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton: NJ, Princeton University.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). The darker and brighter sides of human existence: Basic psychological needs as a unifying concept. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 319–338. Scholar
  40. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166. Scholar
  41. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2002). An overview of self-determination theory: An organismic dialectical perspective. In E. L. Deci & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 3–33). NY: University of Rochester Press, Rochester.Google Scholar
  42. Ryan, R. M., & Frederick, C. M. (1997). On energy, personality and health: Subjective vitality as a dynamic reflection of well-being. Journal of Personality, 08, 1323–1334. Scholar
  43. Ryan, R. M., Huta, V., & Deci, E. L. (2008). Living well: A self-determination theory perspective on Eudaimonia. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 139–170. Scholar
  44. Ryff, C. D., & Essex, M. J. (1992). The interpretation of life experience and well-being: The sample case of relocation. Psychology and Aging, 7, 507–517. Scholar
  45. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. H. (1998). The contours of positive human health. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 1–28. Scholar
  46. Sheikh, J. I., & Yesavage, J. A. (1986). Geriatric depression scale (GDS): Recent evidence and development of a shorter version. In T. L. Brink (Ed.), Clinical gerontology: A guide to assessment and intervention (pp. 165–173). New York: The Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  47. Souesme, G., Martinent, G., & Ferrand, C. (2016). Perceived autonomy support, psychological needs satisfaction, depressive symptoms and apathy in French hospitalized older people. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 65, 70–78. Scholar
  48. Standage, M., Duda, J. L., & Ntoumanis, N. (2003). A model of contextual motivation in physical education: Using constructs from self-determination and achievement goal theories to predict physical activity intentions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 97–110. Scholar
  49. Unanue, W., Dittmar, H., Vignoles, V.L., Vansteenkiste, M. (2014). Materialism and well-being in the UK and Chile: basic need satisfaction and basic need frustration as underlying psychological processes. European Journal of Personality, 28, 569–585Google Scholar
  50. Vallières, E. F., & Vallerand, R. J. (1990). Traduction et validation Canadienne-Française de l’échelle de l’estime de soi de Rosenberg [traduction and validation Canadian-French of self-esteem scale]. International Journal of Psychology, 25, 305–316. Scholar
  51. Watson, D., Clark, L. E., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Team of Psychology of Ages of Life (EA 2114)University François RabelaisToursFrance
  2. 2.EA psychologie des âges de la vieUniversité F. RabelaisTours Cedex 1France
  3. 3.Laboratory on Vulnerabilities and Innovation in Sport (EA 7428)University Claude Bernard Lyon 1VilleurbanneFrance

Personalised recommendations