Simply Satisfied: The Role of Psychological Need Satisfaction in the Life Satisfaction of Voluntary Simplifiers

Abstract

Low consumption lifestyles have the potential to impact positively on the environment and mental health. Past research indicates that individuals who engage in a low consumption lifestyle known as voluntary simplicity have higher levels of life satisfaction. This investigation aimed to test the role of psychological needs as proposed by Ryan and Deci’s (Am Psychol 55(1):68–78, 2000. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68) self-determination theory, in the relationship between voluntary simplicity and life satisfaction in a sample of 571 adults who may or may not identify as voluntary simplifiers. Self-report data was analysed using structural equation modeling to test a hypothesised path from simplifying behaviours to life satisfaction via gratification of the three proposed psychological needs. Consistent with previous research, simplifying behaviours were associated with increased life satisfaction. The proposed pathway: simplicity—psychological need gratification—life satisfaction was supported in the empirical test of the structural equation model suggesting psychological need satisfaction plays a mediating role in the increased life satisfaction of voluntary simplifiers.

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Correspondence to Stacey A. Rich.

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Rich, S.A., Hanna, S. & Wright, B. Simply Satisfied: The Role of Psychological Need Satisfaction in the Life Satisfaction of Voluntary Simplifiers. J Happiness Stud 18, 89–105 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9718-0

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Keywords

  • Low consumption lifestyle
  • Voluntary simplicity
  • Self-determination theory
  • Life satisfaction